The Only Question

Picture this: the three of us — two daughters and myself — clustered together in my older daughter’s car, driving to Craftsbury to ski. My older daughter is talking, talking, talking, when her 13-year-old sister dryly mentions from the backseat the kind of tepid comment she sometimes offers — a sentiment along the lines of what the heck is life all about, anyway? A kind of classic, existential angst that seems perfectly normal — to me, at least — for a rapidly-heading-toward-adolescent.

Bingo, I think. There’s the question. The only question, really.

Her sister, cut perhaps from a very different philosophical cloth, directs our attention to the afternoon which is turning sunny, and notes the skiing is going to be amazing, yet. That terrific kind of April skiing that’s like dessert.

Later, I go looking for my old copies of Alan Watts and find this:

Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery — the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets — is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.

— Alan Watts

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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. Between me and my sister, I think we nabbed all my father’s paperbacks, but I’m always on the lookout for what I haven’t read of Watts. Let me know if you have a particularly favorite book!

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