Returning home just after five yesterday, darkness enveloped our house — deep, whole, profound. Through the windows, I saw my girls had turned on the strings of tiny white twinkling lights.

The winter solstice is weeks away, and three times I’ve driven through snowstorms. Wet snow, crashing from our roof to the back porch, frightens our quivering cats.

Meanwhile, in our house, life swirls on. Each of us goes our own way — to school and to work — separating and returning. At night, brushing our teeth together, we look in the mirror — three different heights, three different females. At 13, the younger daughter looks to her older sister as she always done — mimicking clothes, language, habit — yet different, too. Year 13 marks the chrysalis age, between childhood and womanhood.

This daughter tends her two beloved cats with silliness and seriousness — making them wait patiently for their meals and also carrying them like furry purring babies around the house. Watching her, I take note.

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.

John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Our kitchen life….

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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