Running Away

James Joyce’s “The Dead” is one of my favorite short stories, with that remarkable line about falling snow general all over Ireland. In my corner of Vermont, these days, the sentiment generally is enough with the snow for this year. April: season of rain, of snow and ice and, somewhere, beneath all that, struggling green.

I stopped in at the Woodbury school, leaning against the foyer wall while a man who grew up on a farm in the area told me the red-winged blackbirds reminded him of childhood. When he snuck away from farm chores, he headed down to the creek where those dark birds with their signature crimson mark sang.

Ridiculously visually inclined, I rely too heavily on my vision: really, as all my photos attest, the landscape here is yet the monochrome of winter. I’m wrong about this, of course, although I won’t point to any sign of spring at my friend’s request. Too cruel, she says, when sleet falls.

And yet — dumping coffee grounds around blueberry plants, fingering their branches and imagining small, perfect white blossoms, I then close my eyes and listen to the birdsong all around, their rising, sweet melodies.

I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil…

— Louise Glück

Woodbury, 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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