From the Editor: September 2023

In times when the news is often not good and disagreements drive people apart rather than show them common causes, the arts seem as good a place as any to gather round a hearth of harmony and let the warmth of imagination and crafted beauty—whether it be song or sculpture, painting or poetry, drama or dance—remind us of what makes us all the same: the human spirit.

Gina Malone, editor

Autumn months are times of harvest as we move toward the days when colder temperatures and winter storms will drive us indoors more often. It’s a bountiful time in the arts world as well, with announcements of new seasons that present world-class stage and concert hall performances, including those of Asheville Chamber Music Series, Asheville Symphony, NC Stage and Wortham Center for the Performing Arts.

Don’t forgo time outdoors, however, just because temperatures are cooler and days grow shorter. Even as we’re preparing for winter months and spending more time within the cozy confines of home, we need nature. Timely and pleasurable still are activities like fly fishing, hiking, garden tours, watching plein air painters at work or simply sitting in your garden sanctuary.

Artist Jeremy Russell’s Forest Floor on our cover this month captures all of the magic of an Appalachian forest—the way light streams through the canopy and is scattered, touching form and texture alike with a beckoning glow, especially at this time of the year. A spiritual connection to nature sustains Russell’s creativity. “It’s simply inherent in all of us as animals and spirits,” he says.

In Bob Turner’s column, read about Dr. Suzanne Simard’s pioneering research on mother trees and how it relates to healthy farmland at a time when, never mind the pessimism, many are striving to make things right with our Planet Earth. Take it from Simard: “We have the power to shift course. It’s our disconnectedness—and lost understanding about the amazing capacities of nature—that’s driving a lot of our despair.”

Keep in touch; we at The Laurel love to hear how the arts—and nature—enrich your lives and give you hope.

Gina Malone can be reached at

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