From the Editor: May 2024

Gina Malone, Editor

I recently learned that we have a National Decency Day: May 14. It was the idea, in 2019, of a New York woman who believes that civility has a necessary place in our everyday actions and conversations. Imagine if we were all as downright decent to one another as our pets are to us. With May being National Pet Month, it’s our Laurel tradition to seek out some heartwarming animal stories. If seeing the friendly faces of Officers Hope and Kora don’t bring a smile to your face, you’re more stoic than most! Beyond the shaggy adorableness, however, the pair offer beneficial support for civilians and police officers alike.

We’ve also put the Spotlight on Let’s Sew MadCo!, a Madison County organization of folks handy with needle and thread, and willing to teach those of us who aren’t. For their latest service project, they embroidered “Adopt Me” leash slides for Madison County Animal Services. And take a look at the vibrant pet portraits of artist Angela Alexander, who has made supporting animal rescues part of her creative work.

Just in time for Mother’s Day, Mica Gallery, highlights work by mother and daughter artists Stacey Lane and Evelyn Kline.

The Celts welcomed May 1, or Bealtaine in Irish Gaelic, as the day when the light—and life and fertility—returned, the midpoint between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Our days grow longer and those April showers have truly brought the May flowers. We offer bouquets for the eyes: the gorgeous work of Shirley Bavonese, our cover artist, North Carolina Arboretum’s Bloom with a View and Woolworth Walk’s Spring in the Mountains. As Judith Canty Graves, our Observant Gardener, reminds us, May is a perfect time to seek out and appreciate Nature’s ceaseless beauty. It’s also a great month to visit the many area plant sales traditionally held, including the Black Mountain Beautification Committee’s garden sale, with proceeds going back into keeping the town inviting for all.

Happy May!

Gina Malone can be reached at

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