Roaming Kids

I unclogged the kitchen sink yesterday afternoon with a sewer snake and a five-minute tutorial courtesy YouTube. In my childhood home, my dad had a yellow hard-covered book he consulted for his share of plumbing. While the reference method of home repair has changed, the essential has not. Just before I unplugged the sink, I wrote an article for work at the kitchen table my mother painstakingly refinished decades ago, and then I chopped up a watermelon for the kids, who appeared sweaty and panting from bike riding. They conceived a plan to cook outside, and built a blaze with birch bark.

My teenager appeared with her boyfriend, and we sat outside in the wood smoke that shifted with the breeze, laughing about marshmallows and hair gel, and remarking about the cooling air and the clouds fattening with rain. Tiny knobs of blossoms hung from the current bushes, and all around us, green growth surged mightily.

I had finished a reasonable amount of work (and triumphed with the drain, too), my daughters weren’t bickering, the black flies were negligible, and then eventually we left the fire and went walking in the rain, as I did as a child, too.

Dead my old fine hopes
And dry my dreaming but still…
Iris, blue each spring

– Bashō

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By Brett Ann Stanciu

Brett Ann Stanciu lives with her two daughters in Hardwick, Vermont. Her creative nonfiction book, Unstitched: My Journey to Understand Opioid Addiction and How People and Communities Can Heal, will be published by Steerforth Press in September 2021. Her novel about rural life in Vermont, Hidden View, was published in 2015.

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