Welcome to Issue 5.3

Featured Artist: Marcy Ellis, “Interconnected Souls”

A Note From the Editor:

The summer before beginning my college career, I spent as much time as possible reading and outside enjoying the nature of my hometown. It was during this time that I began learning about our universe and the stars waltzing above the blue mountaintops. When my family went for drives on the back roads leading to our home, I’d crane my neck trying to find the best view of the night sky from my dad’s truck. I learned how to find the famous constellations and sought them out each time, especially when I become worried about what my quickly approaching future would have waiting for me. One of the most memorable nights of that summer is when we went for a drive with my mom and dad in the cab of the truck and my sister and myself in the bed. We shared the perfect vantage point as our parents drove us down the familiar roads. We watched the sun bleed itself out behind the mountains and looked up in wonder as those oranges and pinks faded out for the moon to rise up in the dim spotlight. As the stars shined into place, I pointed out Orion, and then allowed my attention to come back to Earth, focusing on my family and our world together. We counted the deer that ran by under the fullness of the sky’s light.

My thoughts straightened out as I looked up into the tangled web of constellations. I found regularity in the patterns of the world. Becoming familiar with the setting overhead reassured me that I would never be too far from home. Of course I would still be under the same sky as the people I loved most in the world. The expansiveness of the universe made me feel tiny, made my worries about leaving home feel insignificant, and my hopes began to soar. My life might be small under the universe’s gaze, but the questions and possibilities were magnified just as everyone experiences their own moments. I grasped for and aspired to love each moment left before the change of leaving this familiar place.

For our Summer 2018 issue of the Rappahannock Review, we chose to focus on the theme of Cosmos. Working on this issue has been a process of curating a collection of works that speak to different aspects of the overarching theme. The writers have delved into the enigmatic traits of personal cosmos and traditional, universal cosmos.

These pieces sparked conversation among our staff, and we will gladly admit to thinking about them a lot and excitedly discussing them long after our editorial meetings. Working on this issue and with this staff has been a dream come true, something I’ve wished on all the stars for, and I am proud and humbled to have the opportunity to bring to our readers these works.

This issue goes live on July 27th, the second full moon of this summer. This moon is the Buck Moon, so as you look up into its roundness that evening or count the deer bounding in your own neighborhood and then sink back into cycling through the emotions evoked within our issue, just know that we will be doing the same right with you, as naturally curious humans and as readers seeking out both the new and the bittersweet familiar of each writer’s world. We hope you will find the same emotional depth when reading each of the pieces in the issue as we felt when we encountered them. I encourage you to open your mind to the possibilities created in these works: be curious, ponder them, read them aloud, share them, learn and explore their worlds.

I hope you are captivated by the imagery and imagination contained in Issue 5.3. I hope the language contained in this issue will transport you out of your world and into the universes of our contributors; when you come back into your own world, I hope you find yourself breathless in awe of the pages ahead of you and sweetly nostalgic for the ones already read. This is Cosmos. Let’s get started exploring this collection of words and worlds.

Lauren Taylor, Editor in Chief