Summer is synonymous with the beach for many people. There’s just something mesmerizing and cathartic about watching waves spill onto shore and slip back out into the vast sea. Just as the ocean breathes in and out upon sandy beaches, we experience ebbs and flows in our lives. Constant fluctuation. One moment it is smooth sailing, momentum in your favor, life is grand—until it isn’t. The wind shifts, the sky grows ominous, and something pushes you back. Or pushes you under. It could be a diagnosis, a loss, an accident, or discrimination. Some days the best we can do is just tread water, hoping we don’t drown. Eventually the storm passes. We emerge. Stronger, perhaps.

Our featured essay, “Portrait with a Seagull,” is the sweet story of a family’s visit to the Jersey Shore and one child’s preoccupation with seagulls. Mom and author, Natalie Haney Tilghman, sees her son interacting with a gull and is a bit envious of the effortless, immediate connection they have. Despite her aversion to the creatures that swoop through the sky snatching snacks and squealing, they end up saving the day in an unexpected way, and she is grateful.   

The gull isn’t the only aerial friend in this issue, several species flit in and out among the prose and poetry—a peppered moth, bees, a swallow, and even a bird of prey. Just as they spread their wings to fly, the act of rising is prevalent throughout these pages—literally and metaphorically. And, let’s face it, there are days when rising out of bed is a feat in itself. The digital artist featured in this issue has had her share of days lying horizontally due to illness and injury. Yet, Diana de Avila greets each day with hopefulness, fueled by faith, and her message is an uplifting one of resilience.

This issue also includes contributions from Emma Baker, Jax Bidmead, Marjorie E. Brody, Emma Burnett, Douglas G. Campbell, Deb DeBates, Alexander Etheridge, Joanne Feenstra, Janet Engle Frase, Ben Gooley, Lori Hahnel, Mattie-Bretton Hughes, Shelly Jones, Suzanne Kamata, Grace Kully, Karen McKenzie, Betsy Miller, PMF, Trystan Popish, Ivy Raff, Tara K. Ross, Sheersty Stanton, M.S., Cynthia Stock, and Angela Townsend.

All of the pieces in this issue, in some small way, bear out the truth that life is ever-changing and at times, the seas are tumultuous. Sometimes, though, there is beauty in chaos if we take the time to look for it. Just like shells along a beach, we hope you’ll find some treasures in the work we’ve selected. 

Read Issue 89 (PDF) now!

Click here for the screen reader friendly version of Issue 89.