When my daughter was four, she went through a period when she wanted the same handful of books read aloud each night. One of these books was Peter Spier’s ornately drawn picture book without words about Noah’s ark. The book was a hand-me-down from her cousins, and it was the only Bible story I think we ever read to her. The Old Testament’s grief and struggle doesn’t seem the cheeriest childhood bedtime reading.

But she loved the two-by-two of the animals, the dove with the olive branch, and Noah patting the soil around his vineyard at the end.

Yesterday, I picked up a gardening book at the library and read parts of it aloud to my daughters. The yard at our new-to-us house is fairly flat, blank slate. Envisioning growth, the three of us all agree on this common point: grapes.

Dreaming of a small vineyard, years in the tending: November. Thanksgiving.


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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