Editor's Letter

Looking Forward

Finding hope— and promise—in the backyard

Photo: margaret houston

DiBenedetto and Rosie in the backyard.

It was early April when we shipped the issue you’re holding to the printer, and the G&G team was a month in to working remotely—and to understanding the new normal and what readers would want to see in the pages. While we’re used to looking three months into the future, our editorial crystal ball was of little help given the pandemic sweeping the world. 

Personally, my backyard became my salve. In between Zoom meetings with the team, news of rising coronavirus infection rates, and the shuttering of our favorite restaurants, bars, and beaches, I snuck back there to take a deep breath of nature. The Carolina chickadee in the birdhouse had laid five eggs, and every day I’d peek inside to get a glimpse at the impossibly tiny chicks still yet to sprout a feather—and wonder how creatures so fragile could ever survive. But they did, even weathering a wild morning of storms that produced torrential rain, heavy wind, and tornadoes. At other times I’d sit by the bunch of milkweed we planted and wait for the monarch butterflies to land. And the garden boxes that had once been a place to while away some time or snap a boastful Instagram photo of a handful of radishes now took on new significance. Not only would we eat every turnip, but we’d put their greens to use, too. If there was an overabundance, we’d share with the neighbors, in the form of paper bag drop-offs and handwritten notes from my children, Sam and Rosie. 

The Carolina chickadee eggs before hatching.

But no matter how dire the news or difficult the stresses, spring continued to blossom, to offer hope. And hope was the word we held up to the light as we put the finishing touches on this issue. As I write this, no one knows whether the places that we cover will be open for business as usual when the magazine lands in your mailbox. But we’re hopeful that they will be—or will be soon. If those baby chickadees taught me anything, it’s that nature, and by extension, humans, are a resilient bunch. 

A big thank-you to this issue’s contributors—writers, photographers, and illustrators—who delivered their usual top-notch work. And let me also say thanks to our advertisers, who stuck with us for this issue in turbulent times. I hope these pages provide some much-needed balm. And here’s to smoother sailing ahead.

David DiBenedetto
Senior Vice President & Editor in Chief
Follow Dave on Twitter and Instagram @davedibenedetto

This article appears in the June/July 2020 issue of  Garden & Gun. Start your subscription here or give a gift subscription here.