As the garden withers for the winter, I collect seeds — tithonia, marigold, coneflower — pulling the dry seeds with their tufted ends with my fingers, secreting them in my coat pockets.

My daughter takes a handsaw to the mammoth sunflower stalks fencing the garden, their heavy heads picked nearly clean of seeds from marauding birds. From a scant palmful of seeds, what pleasure these beauties have given us this summer. Now, the birds and the scavenging squirrels feast, too.

A friend stops by with a bare peony root, cushioned in paper, transported in a Negra Modela box. I’m out that evening. When I return, my daughter carefully unwraps the root — not merely a stick but a complicated branching — and then lifts another smaller root. Good luck, she says. They may not grow.

Or, they might.

Wait, for now.
Distrust everything, if you have to.
But trust the hours. Haven’t they
carried you everywhere, up to now?

— Galway Kinnell



Juncos flock the double glass doors in our kitchen, tantalizing our cat.

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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