Vermont Dawn

It’s autumn here. Better — Vermont autumn — a landscape hordes of people drive and fly hundreds, thousands, of miles to see.

Because the world is dying down, my prolific garden beginning to crumple, autumn always seems to me the season of memory.

A memory of pulling beets and carrots in an enormous garden while my friend’s husband lay in the house, dying of skin cancer. More happily: a memory of my older daughter’s first Halloween costume, a piece of a sheet I cobbled into a baby ghost costume.

Tricia Tierney directed me to Leslie Schwartz’s The Lost Chapters: Reclaiming My Life One Book at a Time. Late nights, I lay awake reading, thinking how glad I am not to be jail. Early one cold morning, I pull on my down jacket, a beautiful turquoise hand-me-down, now worn thin and stained at the cuffs, and follow the path behind my house, disappearing into the darkness and walking all through the sunrise, the ebony sky streaked through with endless ribbons of luminescent pink.

Schwartz writes, “Writing is survival.” Surely creative work of any kind carries us along. Like the Vermont landscape I live in, creativity has its cycles, too, my garden’s sunflowers shedding their golden petals, bending down for winter’s dormancy.


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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