From the Editor: December 2023

Gina Malone, editor

So much of this issue touches upon winter and the solstice, and ways we might all celebrate this magical time. One might concentrate on bleakness, consider how the sun hangs at its lowest point, ruminate on how the word solstice literally means “sun standing still,” reflect on how the days since June have grown shorter and shorter. Or, look upon winter as the time of the sun’s rebirth, and recall Shelley’s plaintive lament, “O, wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

I find these pages full of beauty and hope: from the cover image Peaceful Light, to the exhibitions with themes of solstice and the return of the light, to the peace of nature. In her column, Judith Canty Graves considers the beauty of the winterscape and its light from a gardener’s perspective.

“I love how the snow glistens in the diminishing light of the sunset,” says Cover Artist Margie Kluska. Peaceful Light, she adds, captures that part of day “when it’s time to go inside and get warm by the fire with a steaming cup of cocoa.” As you seek to escape the cold, don’t forget to warm your psyche with art and music. Asheville Gallery of Art presents its Winter Solstice, the Art League of Henderson County offers A LOTTO Art and The Gallery at Flat Rock hosts A BIG Little Show. A Swannanoa Solstice, a holiday tradition for more than 20 years, returns to Wortham Center with new voices and instruments. (p. 26)

For me, December is always a nostalgic time, when I recall childhood and parents who brought so much happiness into our home. Edward Morris captures just such holiday warmth with his lovely, original Christmas cards sent out every year to fortunate friends and family. Traditions bring us peace, and our region provides a wealth of ways to mark the holidays and the winter season, among them Deck the Trees, the Madison County Arts Council’s Holiday Sale and Handel’s Messiah, DIY-style.

“This is the solstice, the still point/of the sun, its cusp and midnight,/the year’s threshold/and unlocking, where the past/lets go and becomes the future….” [from Shapechangers in Winter] Leave it to Margaret Atwood to say so beautifully what this time of year truly means.

Gina Malone can be reached at

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