Wilderness

On a humid Sunday, we walk into Peacham Bog. When I suggest this, my youngest clarifies, A bog? That’s your idea of fun?

It’s Class I wetlands, I answer — as if this is even the remotest tease of fun.

What does lure her is the car keys. Driving there, I mention, Hey, you should always check the gas gauge before you leave home.

What’s the point? she answers. I always drive with you.

We’re driving over a particularly lousy piece of pavement then, and she carefully avoids a pothole — diligent learner.

I answer, But you won’t always drive with me. Isn’t this the whole point here? Because before long you’ll be driving on your own?

She takes that in — thinking over what’s obvious but of course isn’t — that she won’t be a child forever, that even as we’re talking she’s hurtling toward adulthood — a glacial pace for her, a rocket pace for me.

All that hike into the bog and back — exquisitely beautiful, bordering ethereal with its wildness — she carries those keys in her backpack. I can imagine she’s thinking, and I won’t be driving to any flipping Class I wetlands, but she humors me.

But I did not want to go,
not yet, nor knew what to do
if I should stay, for how

in that great darkness could I explain
anything, anything at all.

— Hayden Carruth, The Cows at Night

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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.

12 comments

  1. This is why I take the two youngest out as much as I can now. at 8 and 13 its only a matter of time before they are too cool for step/dad.

  2. Good advice on the gas gauge since not many places near the Peacham Bog to fuel up.
    Love this place!

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