The Lion, and The Lion Again

These days, I’m always writing about the weather and here’s why — with a vengeance, winter hurls at us.

In a select board meeting last night, someone paused and said, The wind. Soon afterward, the lights snapped out. In the utter dark, I stood talking, bodiless, about agenda. The town clerk appeared with two battery lanterns, her face flickering with shadows.

The 13-year-olds pulled me into the town vault where the clerk had shown them a book of vital records, each certificate in a plastic sleeve. The girls had gone wild about the death certificates, reading aloud cause of death: thrombosis, carcinoma, asphyxiation from car exhaust in a closed garage.

I read about a woman who had shot herself in the chest, in the 1950s, down the road from where I once lived. In my mind, I repeated her name and age.

The town clerk showed me handwritten ledgers from when the schoolhouse was built in 1914. Nails, $6.50.

At home, the power was out, too, and I finished knitting a baby sweater by candlelight. Before we went to bed, we looked out the second floor bedroom windows at the dark valley, a snowplow carrying its own light along Route 15. I reminded the girls of reading about wartime, in so many other times and places, when families shut off their lights, in fear of bombing. Three degrees. The wind shrieked around our house.

I lay on my daughter’s bed, listening to her day of babysitting and kid stuff. She knitted by her little lantern while I watched the shadows of her moving hands on the ceiling. A cat curled between us and slept.

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Artwork from the recent Taproot issue — appropriately titled Revive — where an essay of mine appears.

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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