Wander with Laughing Teens

The girls put effort into dressing for a walk through the sugar woods — hair up and all in black, save for a borrowed pair of colorful leggings. In capitulation to winter (which remains), I exchange my holey and holy jeans for a better pair and pull on a raggedy sweater.

We’ve stretched into Sunday and into winter school break, with waffles in the shape of maple leaves and needlepoint projects the girls have pulled out of drawers. I’ve finished my taxes and offered what was apparently an incredibly dull overview of federal monies — who profits, who doesn’t. It’s no loss — the girls shake off the warmth of our kitchen and greet the wet woods and sprinkling rain with joy.

The woods are misty and ghostly, crisscrossed with animal tracks. The maples bend overhead, whispering their secret language. The 13-year-olds jump on each other’s backs like puppies, giggling, and empty snow from their boots.

After reading Donald Antrim’s harrowing essay in the recent New Yorker, I picked his memoir, too.

People are fond of saying that the truth will make you free. But what happens if the truth is not one simple, brutal thing?

— Donald Antrim, The Afterlife: a memoir

IMG_4779
Hardwick Town Forest, tapped in for sugaring

 

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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