Heart in the Hand

When my husband and I bought our first house, I intended to live there forever, unpack my two cast iron skillets, have a couple of kids, dig a vast garden, and stay. Then there’s that Robert Burns’ line John Steinbeck retooled, and maybe I should have reflected that line might encompass the lives of women, too…. The best laid schemes of mice and men…. and so on.

Luckily, what I perceived as plans awry has evened out – at least for now. Intrepidly exploring the terrain of where we’re living, I realize, again, just how corporal our lives are, how the angle of light through the kitchen window – whether wide open or filtered through mist  – shapes the kernels of our days. Walking through the dusky forest with three girls last night, the muddy path surrounded by August’s copious greenery was all alive, alive: pencil-thin snakes, slugs, a darting rabbit, Cooper Brook running over its pebbles, shallow and clean. As we entered a field of goldenrod and chicory, crickets sang wildly, lusty in the heat of summer.

Simultaneously, I’m re-entering the landscape of the heart through my own daughter stepping into her young adulthood. What a bodily world is love. Those well-made schemes? Perhaps that’s what makes our lives so fascinating – our clever designs, and the universe’s unfolding and rearranging of our blueprints.

A summer river being crossed
how pleasing
with sandals in my hands!

– Buson


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.


  1. Just about every time I stop by this space, I find a sentence or two (or more) I wish I’d written. This wishing does not speak highly of me, I realize, but it’s the truth nonetheless.

      1. Funny thing is, I don’t remember that at all. I tend to forget the things I write pretty quick.

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