Garden of Eden — Er, Vermont

My 19-year-old shoots me a photo for an essay I’ve written and hands over her camera card. Scrolling through, I find this picture of her younger sister taken by my friend Jessica Ojala.

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With almost tactile precision, I remember tying my daughter’s little blue shoes, how seriously she and her friend took this photo shoot, how my little daughter ran with her short legs along the pebbled path but was so careful to stay on the paths and not tread on nursery plants.

Look at her little hand on that lichen-covered bench arm and — all around — that gorgeous garden.

Below zero this morning. The now 13-year-old sleeps with one hand on her tabby cat. Same child, different season.

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.

7 comments

  1. I have one of those pictures of my oldest, only there are two pictures and now the child is a man and the dog a beloved memory. Change is the constant.

  2. What a beautiful memory. My children have only now begun to understand why I constantly take photos of them… every so often we look at old photos and they themselves marvel at how much they have changed.

  3. At your daughters age I too slept with a tabby cat. Forty years later, nothing much has changed, yes it’s a bigger bed now shared with my partner but there is still a tabby cat, squeezed in between us.

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