Magazine article Appalachian Heritage

Editor's Note

Magazine article Appalachian Heritage

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

Dog days are upon us, those dreaded summer weeks of stifling temperatures and humidity that blanket the mountains and bottomlands. Some evenings, just before the gloaming descends, one can actually see the moisture hanging in the air, a ribbon wending just above the treeline. What helps to make these scorching days bearable for me are the tomatoes--a little late this year after such a parched summer.

They have come in all at once, so many that we are struggling to make use of them. Some have been canned. Others have been enjoyed right away, sliced to accompany a simple evening meal or placed on a sesame cracker with a dab of pesto and Welsh cheese for tea. Later this week, I'll be using the latest round to make gazpacho. They have become for me a symbol of hope this summer, the perfect antidote to this season of fear and anxiety in which we now find ourselves.

These are troubled times, with a presidential election that promises to be the most negative of many cycles, senseless shootings and attacks that have ravaged communities around the country and globe, and increasing amounts of vitriol and verbal assaults--fueled in part by social media--that have contributed to some of the worst divisions our country has ever seen. In such turbulent times, literature and the arts become even more important, helping us make sense of our tumultuous world and to appreciate the value of diversity and inclusivity. As President Kennedy once said, "When power corrupts, poetry cleanses."

What better cathedral than nature to serve as an antidote to such turmoil? …

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