It’s that time of year when wintry weather reminds us to slow down and savor cozy pleasures. Our theme for Issue 80 of Kaleidoscope is “Winterscapes.” January is the perfect month for enjoying seasonal outdoor fun, no matter whether you live in the frigid North or along the balmy southern coastline. Then, settle indoors with a relaxing beverage and dig into the current selection of stories, articles, and poems that comprise our current issue.

Winter offers a fresh start by ringing in the New Year on January 1. February brings us heart to heart on Valentine’s Day. The promise of spring in March awakens renewed energies and excitement. Our contributors’ thoughtfully-crafted works invite you to share unique perspectives on life from those who are managing a disability or caring for someone with a special need.

This issue’s featured essay, “Taco Tuesday,” by Deanna Altomara, provides an insightful glimpse into the life of a teenager with autism who is learning how to balance a restaurant serving job with high school studies.

“Choosing Irresponsibility” by Sarah Bat, reflects on the choice between doing the right thing versus doing what we so badly want to do. Should we ever make the “wrong” decision when it feels so “right” in the moment? Sarah shares her experience in this thought-provoking piece that will likely leave you questioning some of your decisions as well.

Anita G. Gorman’s “Remembering Ronnie” pays tribute to a unique and unforgettable friend. Sometimes we treasure a friendship not because of what someone does, but because of who they are. You may be encouraged to look up an old friend or make a new one with characteristics that are unusual but endearing.

Artist Odessos was born with a hearing impairment and has worn hearing aids since age eleven. He believes his hearing status “certainly was a contributing factor” to his artistic development . . . giving rise to “more personal expression and desire to belong.” His subjects include landscapes, fantasy, cartoons, and architecture. Favoring acrylics, some images portray serious environmental messages while others are lighthearted and scenic. He says, “The viewer must decide what he sees.”

Poems offer lyrical themes of self-expression and reflection that we can appreciate. “Holding On,” by Shirley Adelman, speaks of “winter afternoons” when just existing is enough. Jólét’s “Snow” reminds us of the “magic stillness” of “joyful snow” and being “reborn.” “A New Normal” by Kira Compton ponders the idea that life comes with surprises and adjustments, some less welcome than others, but all with challenges and opportunities.

Out with the old, in with the new­—this winter issue introduces new literary landscapes to explore. We hope you will enjoy this inspiring collection of writers and artist along with their amazing work that creates new images and ideas to creatively imagine after a brisk walk in a winter wonderland or an afternoon on a sunny beach. As you begin the New Year in respite from daily year-long cares or reinvigorated to embrace goals and dreams anew, join us in surveying bold new visions of life as it is—and as it should be.

Read issue 80 of Kaleidoscope here!