An Actual Excursion

On a whim, I bought three tickets to an outdoor light festival. Each ticket was cheaper than the price of a movie ticket, back when we once went to the movies.

It was below zero when we arrived, and the three of us stood very near a crackling fire watching the winter twilight sink through deepening shades of blue into dark. We were outside a theater where I attended a fantastic poetry reading just before our world shut up last March.

Eventually, my daughters and I, warmed enough by the fire and hot chocolate, wandered through the enchantingly lit grounds. Overhead, the stars shone. At the far end, two little kids played in the snow that was lit cobalt — laughing with great pleasure, The snow is blue!

Just before we left, my daughters started the car and the heat, and I ran back to the window for sweets to bring home. I guessed who was bundled under layers of bulky coats and scarves and balaclavas.

A stranger who was stamping his feet and waiting for drinks asked if I was from here. Our house with our cats was eight miles down the road, but he had driven well over an hour to come. We have to do something, he said, then we wished each other a lovely night, and then disappeared into the night.

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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