Border Crossings

On inauguration eve, I dream of wandering through my childhood hometown and wake thinking of the November morning four years when I woke early and realized I would have to tell my daughters that Donald Trump won the presidency.

Four years seems so long ago — far longer ago than my own childhood of the 1970s when not all that much seemed to happen.

As I lie in bed reading about the Vikings — these ancient, fascinating people — snow drifts down outside, twinkling in my neighbor’s porch light. She’s up, too, as are my neighbors across the street, all three of our houses awake this morning long before dawn. In a different world, I’d pull on my coat and slip into my boots, walk through those unshoveled inches of fresh snow, and offer a piece of coffee cake my daughter baked.

In my own family life, we’ve slipped through so many borders and changes in these four years, one tiny ripple in the endless ripples of human life. Today, January 20, yet another change. May this be for civility and decency.

The Viking Age was very much a time of borders—between cultures and ways of life, between different views of reality, and between individuals, including at the level of liberty itself.

— Neil Price, Children of Ash and Elm: A History of the Vikings

Photo by Gabriela 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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