Somewhere in Snowy Spring….

Through a few inches of snow, I follow stone steps down to nearby Lake Caspian, winding around a cedar-shingled house, holding a railing someone has taken the care to build, baluster by baluster.

The homeowner wants to build a tiny boathouse by the shoreline. While I listen to his plans, I eye the lake visible beneath the bent that hang over the lake. Although I’m wearing my winter coat, I imagine wading in, sweeping my fingers in the cold water.

The few of us stand among white birches, sharing names and stories. Because this is Vermont, we talk about the weather, the need for precipitation, and how everyone’s wood pile is faring. We make our way back up the hill, still talking.

A robin, in a crazed songbird rush, swoops by, nearing clipping one woman’s ear. She laughs.

It’s Saturday. Later that afternoon, I’ll stand in my driveway, talking with my friend about the fat list of things that worry and stress us. But for this half hour or so, I visit with acquaintances and strangers, talking about the area’s barns, how these great structures were built with care. Some remain; some are simply memories.

For listening recommendations, my father passed along this link to This American Life‘s Three Miles.

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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