Irritable and Not So

At the northern end of the reservoir, we kayak north, where the water flows into the Black River, crossing the Canadian border on its meandering way to the Atlantic.

Surrounded by cattails, we stop at a beaver dam, listening to the spilling water. The late afternoon is sticky, the water’s too mucky and weedy for swimming, the girls who have been up early either for soccer practice or work are out-of-sorts, irritable.

What’s on the other side of that beaver dam? I edge near, curious, but there’s no way I’m getting around.

Back on the wide reservoir, we spread out. At the far end, a loon calls, which fails to impress either daughter. The teenager says, I’ve heard that before.

And yet, hungry and tired as both daughters are, neither seems in any rush to leave. Clouds jostle against Buffalo Mountain in the distance, promising rain, but not too quickly. The girls’ paddles lie across their kayaks as we drift.

Later that evening, as I lie on the couch, reading, rain begins to patter down. The older daughter goes out for a run. The younger daughter and I pull on raincoats and cut through the thorny blackberries, silently, our faces wet.

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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.

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