No Boundaries

Annie Dillard in The Writing Life has these lines: One of the things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time…. give it, give it all, give it now…. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

Yesterday, Burlington was the city of blooming trees, countless petals strewn over lawns and car rooftops. The fragrance of freshly-turned bark mulch reminded me of playing beneath the neighbors’ rhododendrons when I was a little girl, and how wide and endlessly wonderful the world appeared then. As if everywhere I walked, something new and marvelously unexpected would emerge, like the word biodegradable, strong and full of magic possibilities.

At the end of a sultry day, I drove my little silver car home beneath charcoal-smudged clouds, through raindrops one-by-one illuminated by sunlight.

One flowering fruit tree alone would have been stupendous. I traveled from the lake through the wide valley, deep into the mountains, and arrived home where the apple tree before our house had opened its white and crimson-hearted blossoms while I was absent. The girls sprawled on the porch, waiting for me.

On the rain-sprinkled earth, we stood talking, inhaling the sweetly scented sonata of opening petal, damp dirt, ruby-throated hummingbird: summer’s largesse.


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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