Small Growth

Seed by seedling, I plant the garden, using my shovel and trowel, my two well-loved tools. The songbirds and the flickering pollinators keep me company in the garden.

In breaks, I read Jessica Goudeau’s After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America. This well-written book tells the story of two women, and their families, in places faraway from Vermont.

Meanwhile, in Vermont’s sweet spring, the state rushes along to vaccinate its population, taking vaccination buses on the road, meeting people at beaches and schools, offering free ice cream cones.

In the hardware store, I buy sunflower seeds. Standing outside, I chat with an acquaintance who removes her mask and tells me, You know, if you’re vaxxed, you really don’t need these anymore.

She looks at her mask and then puts it back on again. I feel naked, she says.

It’s 80 degrees. I take mine off and head home to plant those flowers.

But the greatest danger Obama identified was a ‘test of our common humanity — whether we give in to suspicion and fear and build walls, or whether we see ourselves in one another.’

— Jessica Goudeau

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.

5 comments

  1. I know that feeling! I was at one of my favorite small garden centers this week and my farmer friend and employee (a cousin of his) were without their masks, having both been fully vaccinated, and they knew i had too. I bravely took mine off, and someone I didn’t know came in. I put it back on again, the habit is already there, which is a good thing. Soon.

  2. The social conditioning is strong for many. I continue to see folks walking, alone and far away from anyone, fully masked; sometimes double masked. I see the same with some folks driving cars, alone, fully masked.

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