Editorial – Winter 2020-21
Well, we’ve made it to winter.
Every other article on every website warns that this will be the darkest winter of our lives. The day before I type this, the daily death toll in America crossed 3,000 for the first time. We talk about the numbers a lot – numbering the dead, the infected, the states that refuse to mandate mask-wearing. The rising R. We make plans in pencil, always with the caveat: we’ll watch the numbers and see if seeing each other feels safe. We already know that we’ll reschedule, not cancel, reschedule, it’ll happen, one of these days it’ll be okay, one of these days we will see each other’s faces, we will hold each other, one of these days we will sing together. Maybe by this time next year.
We have gotten by on outdoor distanced visits: you sit on that park bench and I’ll sit on this one, keep our masks on, gesticulate more than usual, and we pause at the end: we are touch-starved and we want to hug the people we love. And now, if you live somewhere with actual winter (that rare pang of missing Florida), we are all tucked away inside. Curled up at the window, hands curled around a mug of tea or cocoa, backlit to the world, watching shadows.
I’m disabled and this is my only job – I’m working on a novel, I’m doing lots of projects, but this is the only thing that has a deadline, so my body has been processing the stress of this year (and, by extension, the years before) by sleeping the afternoon away. I joke that I’m beginning a hibernation process, but maybe I should stop joking? Maybe there’s something to slowing down even more thoroughly, to unhooking yourself from a schedule that makes less and less sense the farther we go down the road of the pandemic. Sleeping all winter isn’t an option, but slowing is.
And happily, slowing is conducive to the reading of poetry. You can consume our winter offering all in one gulp, but I recommend leaving time to savor each poem. We’re on a journey again, because we always are, aren’t we? We detour to ancient Greece; we depart the issue with, as we requested in our very first call for submissions, new myths.
I am in a house that I have fortified against winter and the pandemic as best I can. It is warm and full of plants that I will guide through to spring, and there is always music, and there are always cats. I will walk the path and meet the spring. I’ll see you there.