Good Grapes

The wild grapes I’ve discovered on my run have withered. I stop and gnaw their purple skins. These edibles are at that interesting place between half-sour and vaguely sweet, tangy.

These grapes sum up Vermont autumn — sweet while it lasts, but fleeting, fleeting. On this last day of September, I go about my day with that familiar sense of the garden for this year at its end, the cold and early days drawing around us.

It’s a mixed sense, like so many things in this life. No more swimming in the evenings or driving barefoot, the windows rolled down and the breeze pushing in. Instead, the cats loll before the wood stove. The daughters talk and talk. I pull the curtains. Here’s where we are, for now.

“Slow, slow!
For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes’ sake along the wall.”

— Robert Frost, “October”

Greensboro, Vermont

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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