Our World.

Last night, I attended a Development Review Board meeting where only I appeared in person. The other participants all dialed in via their laptops. When we finished, I closed the windows and then walked out, standing for a moment on the steps of the two-story building that had originally been built as the town’s high school. The door in the empty building had been open when I appeared. I closed it behind me.

It’s a strange way to hold a meeting. One small bit of strangeness in a year and a half now of utter weirdness.

Driving home, the air is otherworldly with smoke from fires on the other side of the continent. My daughter and I stand in the garden, and she wonders what the air smells like — it’s not the familiar scent of smoke from our chimney, or the neighbor’s stove. Nor is it pestilent, like a house burning down.

I weed a little while she tells me about her day. Dusk moves in. In the sweet, warm evening, we swim.

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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