Running on the trails behind the high school today, a owl swoops through the woods, heads along the path, and then veers rapidly into the canopy. I run after him, but he’s gone.

Omen, clearly. But of what?

My luck to see this winged beauty?

Or a warning to keep my eyes open? Or just an owl searching for supper? I can look back on my life now and see all kinds of omens I missed — or blatantly ignored — but maybe, I keep thinking, those were merely owls, then, too….

Then, sometime during the fourth year, the omens will abandon you, because you’ve stopped listening to them.

— Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist





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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