July is summertime’s cradle. It’s that sweet spot between the end of school and start, when the fruits of the season move to peak and the sun burns into a cricket symphony. There is something about the collective sigh of summer, no matter our age. We lean on that school-year routine because the past runs deep. Nostalgia usually wins. And, honestly, everyone needs a break.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about time—how it seems to go far too quickly, how aging is strange, compelling, and inevitable. We mark the hours by how and where we spend them.

This issue is an ode to place and time, a snapshot of the cracks, crevices, and special features that exist only in our Palmetto State. It’s a place of pristine lakes and storied rivers, where Foothills trails lead to magical falls. It’s a state of wild oaks and Spanish moss and stretches of unadorned coastline. It’s a place of culture, of industry, of technology. It’s a state of the arts, flourishing with talented voices that speak creativity to life.

Place is a marker of time, but also of timelessness, of stories that continue even if the characters are gone. Atalaya, the formidable winter home that Archer and Anna Hyatt Huntington built near Pawleys Island, is an example. Novelist Ashley Warlick writes of walking through its empty rooms, while imagining the details of the Huntingtons’ eccentric lives. Like many wealthy New Yorkers, the Huntingtons came south for respite. They built a home that continues to speak for them, as if their voices—so prominent in life—still need the extra space. Along with Warlick, authors Scott Gould and Terry Barr round out our feature story, “Native Tongues,” with memoir-like takes on their favorite Carolina-only experiences.

There are many corners, crossroads, and old BBQ joints that I will never see. But I know the essence of them. Because whether you travel a single mile or 200, life’s sweetest moments are right here.

And, right now, we have all the time in the world.

—Blair Knobel