Good and Evil

When the holiday is finished, the dishes washed and floor swept, guests departed, the teenager headed to her nursing home job, the 12-year-old and I walk down to the post office in the dark, to drop a letter in the mailbox.

Everything but the empty laundromat and the diner with not a single soul visible is closed. Although dark, the evening is warmer than our walk that morning; a few cars rush through the village, but that’s about it. The laundromat glows overly florescent bright, empty.

We stop where we often do, at the thrift store window, and peer into the shadowy space.

As we walk, I’m thinking of a line my brother said, sprawled on our couch with two sleeping kittens – that the universe may hold good and the absence of good, and what we name evil might merely be that absence. Knitting a hat for my daughter, I paused and asked if he believed that possibility. What, really, would that mean?

We let my question lie between us. Finally, my daughter lifted a card and asked if we might try to answer a question about salamanders.

State 14 generously ran a rewrite of one of my posts. Check out their Vermont writers and photographers.

When I was a boy, when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and it snowed.

– Dylan Thomas


Hardwick, Vermont, Thanksgiving morning

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