Cold Snap!

Our neighbors borrow my teenager’s hair dryer to thaw their pipes. It’s 14º below zero, and they’re confident their situation is minor. Gossip winds around town of whose pipes have frozen. This morning, I woke in the dark with a cat purring beside my shoulder. My daughter, 19, gets up with me in this predawn and says she doesn’t know what she should do with her life.

Aim to do something you’ll be proud of, I suggest.

Deeper than 20º below is when the bitter cold really sets in. The lowest I’ve seen the thermometer is 40º below, in farm fields along the Lamoille River. A ghostly mist ambled around, as if we were in an otherworldly dream.

This is the season of library books, board games, knitting — one year ebbing into the next.

Although there is the road,
The child walks
In the snow.

— Murakami Kijo

Main Street, Hardwick, Vermont

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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