Cold Spring

A lover I had for a very brief time complained I wasn’t good at accepting gifts. Pride, he noted. About that, he was right.

And yet a life without pride in yourself and your actions? Lack pride and you become a muddied doormat. So here’s the theme that surfaces over and over in all our lives — where to find the sweet spot of balance.

Hard things have a way of bending you, and that bending can go either way, I tell my daughters. In this long cold spring, that sentiment runs deeply.

cherry blossom petals
blown by the spring breeze against
the undried wall

— Masaoka Shiki

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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.

2 comments

  1. Sometimes it is much easier for us women to give rather than receive, but healthy receiving is absolutely necessary. Have you seen the film “Neither wolf nor dog”? One of the points touched there is the Native American belief of never rejecting the gift. I think many cultures, other than modern American, have a much healthier approach to giving and receiving.

  2. I haven’t seen that film, but I’ll look for it. It’s true that this is definitely tied in up our culture’s notions of gender, too. In particular, accepting gifts of food seem particularly important to me.

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