writing inside VT is in the midst of a summer hiatus while Sarah and I take a much-needed break, as well as tweak our prison writing program with the women of Chittenden Correctional Facility for the coming year.
Though we are not conducting writing circles for a few weeks, we continue to receive status updates on the incarcerated women we have written with for months and years.
Those email updates come from the facility weekly, and we read each and every one.
That communication is entitled “Upcoming Inmate Releases,” and it usually reads something like this:
“8/6 to Tapestry (substance abuse facility in Brattleboro), or 8/9 to Northern Lights (transitional housing facility in Burlington), or 8/10 maxed out (free to go home, wherever home is).”
I scan the list of names. This summer it seems, many our writers are being released from the facility — CS and LN and CD and CR and ED and on and on.
These ladies, some of whom I know better than my own friends, are scattering to the winds of Vermont, hopeful to begin life anew.
I feel powerless in some ways to support them all, knowing the economic and employment challenges they face almost immediately.
…yet I do offer them a Gaelic blessing of hope and surround this night. It is about all I can do at this point in time.
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep Peace of the flowing air to you
Deep Peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep Peace of the shining stars to you
Deep Peace of the gentle night to you,
moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep Peace to you
And I trust that something larger than you or me holds them in the palm of a loving hand.