Back Again

In a rosy dawn yesterday, we left Prince Edward Island, the sleeping kids sprawled in our little Toyota, sun-browned and a little too red on one daughter’s shoulders, myself driving and drinking coffee from my thermos, listening to CBC.

As I listened to the Island Morning’s interview with Henry Hank Gallant who walked across Canada in 1967, I thought how different the tenor of this place feels compared to my own country, even relatively liberal-minded Vermont. Much later, deep in Maine’s interior, listening now to Maine Public Radio, Trump’s voice whined over the airwaves about a great trade agreement, and all three of my young passengers who were playing Blackjack on a folded-over atlas howled. We are not Trump aficionados.

But Trump’s word great gave me a thread of the difference between these two nations: America, so fiercely militaristic and competitive, and its civil life – while doubtlessly filled with decent people – underpinned with suspicion and distrust.

We were glad to sail over the Connecticut River and return to our little Vermont village, to stop at the grocery store and have the teenage cashier whose hair was now dyed iridescent green rather than the cherry red from two weeks ago ask, How was your trip?

Dripping humidity here, the kind my mother abhorred when I was a child. July – the growing month in Vermont. My older daughter laced up her shoes and disappeared into the mist for a run.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

– Martin Luther King

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Nearly perfect strawberries I bought from an old man with just a few teeth along a roadside in Maine.

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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