Four Maples

A friend from my high school years (which, my daughters remind me, were literally in the last century) sends me an email, and I email back from my car, in a gray parking lot beside even grayer Lake Champlain. I remember canoeing from Burton Island to the mainland on a bright, balmy morning last July, and then waiting on a high point on the mainland, watching the ferry traveling across the lake with my 12-year-old daughter and her friend. When the ferry docked, I ran down to meet them, the girls glowing and happy with their adventure.

This friend writes about taking his kids swimming, and I wonder, pond or lake, river or pool? It’s been so long since I’ve seen him I would pass him by on the street, and not recognize him.

Finished, I fold up my laptop. I nod goodbye to this polluted and yet gorgeously beautiful lake and head towards a building where I’ll be blind to the lake all day, but I think for just one more moment of that town where I grew up. Along the square of lawn that my sister and brother and I wore down through endless kickball games stood four giant sugar maples, so tall their lowest branches were high above our heads. I wonder if there’s any chance those maples are still there, haven for songbirds, their leaves lifting up and ruffling over in approaching summer storms.

Once there was a tree….
and she loved a little boy.
And everyday the boy would come
and he would gather her leaves
and make them into crowns
and play king of the forest…

— Shel Silverstein

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Where we are now

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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