A Miniature Temple.

A number of years ago, my friend and I were sitting near a lake watching our little kids play in the sand when somehow our conversation drifted to fear. I began rattling off what I feared — and the list was long. My friend had her long list, too.

Years later, my list might be shorter, but the items are all darn scary.

I wake in the dark as our cats creep around the downstairs, fearful and entranced about my visiting brother’s dogs. Over the millennia of human history, countless people have lived — and are living — through periods when the world around them was crumbling apart or being blown to smithereens. On this Thursday morning, here’s a few lines from a recent poem in the The Writer’s Almanac.

Wishing happiness to all of you, in whatever way the light finds you….

Isn’t it enough to be a person buying

a carton of milk? A simple

package of butter and a loaf

of whole wheat bread?

… I look outside,

but I can’t see much out there

because now it is dark except

for a single vermilion neon sign

floating above the gas station

like a miniature temple.”

— Marlena Morning

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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