“I like a day that starts out cool and ends up cool but warms in the middle. I like a day when the light changes so fast you feel dizzy, and I don’t mind that evening comes before you expect it, and that the surprisingly deep cool shadows bewilder you with their soft blue sledgehammer. I like that the changes in the light and the warmth gently bruise you with anticipation and regret. I like the sweet anise smell of September Clematis, and the sweet windup song of my favorite cricket, my old friend. I like a late-summer day.”
I plundered most of these words from myself. I wrote them six years ago, and at the time I was feeling late summer-provoked instant nostalgia, that feeling of knowing you’re going to miss something as it’s happening and the desire to hold onto it. I feel real and powerful nostalgia for that time, now, all these years later. And for all the times before and after, all the ages of our lives. Time is running and passing, lives are changing, ours and those of people we love, in our world and in the world all around us. And the only thing, really the only thing we can do to capture it is to try to put it into words or pictures or music. To share those, to hope for a connection with others who understand, and through that connection and understanding to create the shared warmth of sympathy. This time of year always does my head in. It feels like a time for thinking and talking about things you can’t get your head around and can’t really express. Tender. My mind, unbidden, is doing a lot of “where was I this time last year, five years ago, ten years ago?”
I think of today as the first year anniversary of Tidings of Magpies, though that’s not quite true, and the vagueness is probably fitting for the nature of the magazine. Our editorial calendar is serendipitous, and each month’s theme is make-the-road-by-walking. We have a sort of ideal vision of an issue, and it’s a pleasure when it falls into place, and a true joy when something surprising comes our way to take it in a new direction, to make new connections. Perhaps it’s because I am thinking of this as an anniversary issue, but the theme that slowly revealed itself in this month’s issue could be the theme of the magazine as a whole. Much to do with time passing, and with memory and dreams, and more to do with noticing all of that, and struggling to find ways to understand and a language to express all that we notice. It could be observing the changes in a stretch of highway in Sonoma Valley over the decades, recording the ghosts who lived there; or exploring memory and place and internal/external landscapes through the prism of an archipelago in the Outer Hebrides. Or recording the otherworldly creatures floating on the edges of our vision at city bus stops and rural rest stops. Or trying to record and define all of the colors in the world, so that we notice them in every living thing around us, and so that we have a way to talk about them together.
As with each issue, this magazine began as a mad vision of a perfect thing. It has exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I am beyond grateful to everyone who let me share their work, and for the conversations I’ve had about art, creativity, life, this old world we live in and the new ones we create. I truly love the magazine’s voice, which grows stronger, stranger, and more perfect with each passing month.
And so defying common sense and a million nagging voices of self-doubt, we head for our second year full of hope and gratitude.
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