Vermont Town Meeting Day

… today, except it’s not.

So much for those days jammed into town halls and school gymnasiums, debating school consolidations or upping appropriations to local food shelves. So much for buying a bowl of chili for lunch and supporting the local PTO. Stand up and vote by voice has been replaced this year by the ubiquitous paper ballot all over the state.

All night, the wind blows — March’s mighty lion. I wake thinking of the old farmhouse and broken down barn I visited the day before. Someone I knew years ago has bought the property and intends to build a new house. The farmhouse lies along a mountain ridge, with a view into a valley. Far up the valley, wind towers sparkled in the sunlight.

There’s no one around at this house, just the sun and myself, snowbanks sculpted by the wind far higher than my head. I might as well be on the edge of the world. I walk back up that long driveway, the snow drifted nearly to my knees. At the crest, I turn again and look back, curious to see next summer how this property will return to life.

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.

6 comments

  1. I hope the reclaiming of the property is done thoughtfully. When nature provides a beautiful landscape, it deserves a house that does not complicate the view.

  2. If you don’t look too hard, you can see a llama head in that cloud formation 🙃. (Or maybe my eyes are just really tired!)

    1. Yes, I can see the llama head too. Growing up, we’d lie on our backs in the grass and name what we saw in the clouds. I still do it sometimes. Thank you for calling attention to it — it opened the gate to a flood of good childhood memories!

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