We are in strange times, a new normal, an unprecedented moment. These are descriptions of our shocking global reality, four months into 2020.

Life has a different rhythm. And while we’re doing our best to stay healthy, connected, and supportive, we are living in a vacuum. Suddenly rush hour is like Sunday morning traffic. Gas is cheap, yet we’re homebound. Masks are the norm. We’re in a war, where the front lines are hospitals and our soldiers are medical personnel, delivery workers, janitors, and others who are the world’s heartbeat.

There is much to fret about, feel for, and lament. People are dying, the economy is suffering, students have watched their school year vanish into thin air.

And, yet, for this moment, we are united. If we’re lucky, we’re surrounded by family, partners, and pets, while virtually connected to loved ones. We have an opportunity to see life in a totally new light—to take stock of what we have, what we’re missing, what we’re thankful for. We’re in slow motion, with the ability to pause and study our own story, how we’ve shaped it and where we’d like to take it from here. 

It’s not the daily grind as we once knew it, though we’re still working hard, lending a hand, and surveying the direction of our lives. In the midst of boredom, stress, and sadness, there is also a lot of goodness. We’re able to see all sides now, in sharp clarity, better than ever before.

We’ve created this issue from our homes, thanks to the benefits of technology and many dedicated people. Our feature story, “Eye for an Eye,” is an homage to the varied artists living in our community and a presentation of fine art photography by the young, bright talent, Will Crooks. Our cover features the work of one of Will’s subjects, Greenville artist Jeffrey Leder. This month, we celebrate creativity, ingenuity, and finding beauty right where we stand.

The microscope of a pandemic makes us realize that we are inextricably linked. The world is a living organism, and we are parts of that organism, made up of the same stuff—breathing in and out into the next moment, and into hopeful days ahead.

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Blair Knobel
Editor-in-Chief
Twitter / Instagram: @LBKNOBEL

Portrait by Blair Knobel