From the Editor: January 2022

How we all love our cultural and family traditions! And how events of the last two years have wreaked havoc with our honoring those traditions. Celebrations and ceremonies, visits and journeys—many have had to be reconfigured into virtual or distanced gatherings.

Gina Malone, editor

Along comes New Year’s Day—our second of the pandemic—and we might be forgiven for being hesitant about hoping for too much too soon.

Still, this issue has many stories about new beginnings, including our annual wedding section filled with ideas and inspiration. Like all gatherings, celebrations of nuptials were hit hard by COVID, and challenges remain. But hope and happiness—and determination—do also. If you’re transcending these troubling times to—finally—tie that knot, way to go!

Our Sustainability and Observant Gardener columns both touch on hope to get us through the long winter as we confront ongoing changes in our natural world.

Artists at the Asheville Gallery of Art look to our surrounding mountains for inspiration for this month’s exhibit and Blue Spiral 1 features a range of artists in four exhibitions running through February 23.

Even though it’s cold and wintry this month, don’t forget to get outside for some fresh air and expansive views. Asheville recently became the first city in the eastern US to sign up for Pledge for the Wild, an initiative that invites tourists to give back to the places they love to visit. Emma also visits with Earl B. Hunter of Black Folks Camp Too, a national program that seeks to make the outdoors more accessible to Black campers.

May your new year’s dreams come true and your resolutions come easy. “Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’,” wrote Alfred Lord Tennyson. Words to start us off in 2022. We at The Laurel wish all of you a safe, happy and prosperous year!

Gina Malone can be reached at

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