Disparate Pieces

The December my younger daughter was two, snow fell every day. To see out the kitchen windows, my 8-year-old and I stood on the chairs to peer over the mounds of snow that had slid off the roof.

This year, we’ve had a long dry span with little snow. My brother, a brewery owner in New Hampshire, calls and complains, Bad for business. For all those years we depended on maple sugaring for our livelihood, I worried about  temperature and precipitation, fretting over one forecast versus another, keen-eyed on a degree or two of temperature change.

In the dark, I lie awake, imagining snow accumulating on our roof, over our lilies and lupines, their dark roots buried silently. The cats nudge me, and in our quiet house, the daughters sleeping, I pour these purring creatures a bowl of milk. At the window, I see across the cemetery a single patch of glowing white light, as if someone left an enormous floodlight on all night. Otherwise, the town is mostly dark, with a few small porch lights here and there, the glowing amber lights of the high school on the hill muted through the falling snow.

That patch is different from the usual spread of lights I see. What’s up, I wonder? What is someone looking for in that falling snow?

(The Province Land Dunes in Provincetown, RI, resembles….) New Mexico, where recently a man who had once been and will probably be again the governor of Nambé Pueblo told me that he had found seashells in the dirt where he is irrigating, a thousand miles from the ocean.

Cynthia Zarin, An Enlarged Heart, 2013

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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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