How would you react if your parents abandoned you and the only home you had ever known burned down? Or if your closest friend were being bullied at school—and you felt powerless to help? What would you do if your mom didn’t show up to pick you up after school, or if you found out you needed surgery to remove a tumor on your head, or if your very best friend moved hundreds of miles away and into a different time zone? The stories and personal narratives in this issue all wrestle with experiences that push their characters and narrators to the limit—that test them and, in most cases, ultimately make them stronger.
These pieces felt appropriate for our February issue. Winter, as a season, always reminds me that life can be cold, lonely, and difficult. That the flowers won’t always be blooming, the sun won’t always be out. As we see in Rachael Ding’s “The Old Woman” in this issue, the seasons are the most essential metaphors for the seasons of our life—the seasons that come as we age, but also as we go through different phases of life. Some phases are full of life and happiness, and some are full of difficulty and even loss. The pieces in this issue remind us of that—and show us the life and strength that exists even within the winter.