July 1.

This photo snapshots summer for me.

I snapped this photo of my beloved daughter’s bare feet at a gas station, just before I had a conversation with a couple who had left Tennessee (brutally hot, they repeated) for the romantic life in Vermont. I kept thinking, but you haven’t meet Vermont’s January yet….

After so long, we finally had a full dinner table on our back porch yesterday, myself and the daughters and the boyfriend and my brother and his partner, all of us together with summer’s greenery pressing in — the domesticity of my potted plants and the wildness of box elder and cardinals interwoven.

Rain sprinkled, and we grilled steak and vegetables. Our conversation wound through drought, the pandemic and the Delta variant, QAnon, and my teenager’s job in a general store this summer.

Over the valley, I saw clouds darken, and rain broke again. Plate by chair by glass we carried in what needed to be covered, and kept talking.

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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