Wandering, Mid-August

Three boys loop in circles on their bikes, eating popsicles and talking. Walking by, I note one boy rides an old banana-seat bike, not unlike my brother’s when he was a kid.

Monday evening, the neighborhood I walk through is unusually busy with people — a woman yanking yellowing pea vines from her garden, a young man powerwashing his deck, two women deep in conversation walking tiny dogs.

I pause at a woodshed where friends have built a tiny house to raffle for the local library addition project. The raffle’s this weekend, and we speculate about who might win. Kids, we hope. Not simply a cute toolshed.

We’ve hit mid-August when the cricket songs have shifted to a longer, slower sizzle, that gradual unwinding of their energy until the singing simply dwindles away in the fall. August is the season of gardens gone rogue — this year my enthusiastic nasturtiums have nearly eclipsed my peppers. The mornings are dim now; the mist moves back into the valley for the cool night hours.

In the rose bed, whose flowers have long fallen, a single trumpet lily blossoms, and I wonder whose hands planted this beauty? Walking by, its fragrance pulls not only the pollinators but myself.

Here’s a line from a fascinating book I found in Maine — Don Kulick’s A Death in the Rainforest: How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea.

A language dies by contracting, by having its layers of complexity peeled off like an onion skin, getting smaller and smaller until there is finally nothing left.


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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