The peppers fatten on the vine. We’re at the sprawling, luxurious place of summer where the greenery is prolific and the pollinators busy. In a few weeks, the slow cool-down begins, but not yet.

On a photography quest, my daughter jumps onto a rickety dock and snaps photos while I wander around to the other side. A heron flies at the far end of the wetland.

We’re headed nowhere in particular this day — just a Sunday, the two of us, and we’re out and away from the ever-present humming chores of work and garden and house and that list I’ve taped on the fridge — sell old car, paint house, buy freezer. I’ve bought the freezer.

These days, the world feels almost unbearably fragile. What’s happening? In the face of this, we crave the wild — the dark pond, the eagle slicing across the sky, the meadowsweet and Black-eyed Susans.

When my daughter leaps back to shore, we turn and look at the bobbing dock. A snake has wound up through the slatted boards. She shivers all over — our mutual dislike of the slithering — and then we head out of the woods and wetlands, back to the domesticity of home and garden.


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.


  1. “And the pollinators busy” – are they ever:). I love watching them this time of year, especially their determination on the echinacea/coneflowers.

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