One Word.

Yesterday, I kept remembering when we took our youngest camping beside a pond when she was two. She pointed to a purple flower growing in the water and learned to say pickerel. For days, she practiced that word, pick-er-el, saying it slowly and carefully, over and over.

Fourteen years later, she’s mastered that name and much more, working for days last spring at what appeared to me to be pages of math. She won’t remember one bit of that trip, but it’s in her, still.

In the evening, my daughters disappear to go running. I wash up dishes, then sit outside near the garden and where the wilderness edges up behind our world, with milkweed and raspberry brambles. As the dusk filters in, I read. The late summer crickets chirp their songs, and the world keeps moving on and on at what it does.

Sunflowers. Japanese beetles in the green beans. Tomatoes red on the vine. The rich scent of the promise of rain moving in.

Come

Let us dine on barley grain

On a journey nowhere

— Bashō

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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