Gifts, Flowers, Vegetables

I’m in a meeting negotiating options to spend a gift to my library when I leave the table to check my laptop for a program’s fees in my email.

I see my daughter, off from work that afternoon, has sent me a photo. That’s all: a photo. She’s somewhere in Vermont, where I’m not particularly sure, driving around in her little blue Toyota she’s named Sammy.

The trustees have spread around the center table in our one-room library. An elderly woman reads in one corner, while her husband works at his laptop in an opposite corner. Two children play on the floor.

When the couple leaves, I walk them out, and the children and I pick cucumbers and zucchini from the garden around the sandbox. The plants are wildly producing. The husband and wife are both 90. They’re headed back to Massachusetts for the winter. We look each other in the eyes and say, Have a good winter. See you next summer.

This is a way of saying that our deepest spiritual, religious, and psychological problems are extremely simple. Just go out and look at the sky. Get to know where you are. Heaven is there for all to see.

— Alan Watts, Cloud-hidden, Whereabouts Unknown

Photo by Molly S.


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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