Cobweb Sweeping

When my daughters suggest a Saturday afternoon skiing with me, I’m immersed in that eternal list of must do, must do, as if the universe’s spin depended on my crossing out whatever rises next on the list.

Maybe I’m simply utterly annoyed at another half day of work I’ll lose again next week — no doubt in vain — seeking child support. But goodness, both teenagers want to cross country ski with me. The younger girl skies ahead, and then loops back. We ski through the woods and over streams, and then a long slow uphill through open fields. We can see all the way to Creek Road, where the bare branches of roadside maples link the sky to the snow-covered earth. Stripping off hats, sweaty, I remember again why I love Vermont’s stark and signified winter beauty, why I love Vermont’s patchwork of small farm and wild forest, why I was certain at 18 that Vermont was the place for me to live.

We ski all afternoon, passing by where our friends once lived, old farmhouse of such merriment. My older daughter talks and talks, about work and about love. At home, we cook dinner together, our cheeks beaming red with cold and happiness.

Pare Everything Down to Almost Nothing

then cut the rest,
and you’ve got
the poem
I’m trying to write.

David Budbill

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Photo by Molly S.

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.

6 comments

  1. It is cliché, but you will remember this ski venture much longer than you will the bills, finances, etc. As the old decision matrix goes, never let the urgent obfuscate the important. Nice picture, too bad you cannot see any sun dogs. GT

  2. I appreciate being reminded of the cliché, because it’s so easy to get swamped under the details of everyday junk. And it’s true, too, that we didn’t have much money when the girls were toddlers, but I remember making an awful lot of play dough and learning the names of wildflowers together.

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