The idea of arrivals and departures appeared to me on a day I drove a poet to the airport. We drove past the routine signage I always see on my way there. At first, I did not see it as a thematic framework. It seemed too straightforward, but driving back to Pueblo, I came to understand how it could unify a talented and diverse group of writers in one issue. It somehow resolved the struggle to figure out how to bring together all these writers, hailing from regions as far as the eastern seaboard, hidden towns in the Midwest, communities I’ve never seen on the west coast, and from the heart of the Southwest.
Regardless of their current location, I still cannot shake how all these poets and writers somehow returned to this part of the country, writing from moments where they stood at the crossroads, which led them to uncover memories that arrive as distant snapshots or moments of departure from geographies that left them longing to preserve that feeling stuck in the land.
For this issue, I combed through submissions several times in order to show how arrivals and departures, as a theme, remains entwined within the four points of Pilgrimage’s mission of Story, Spirit, Witness, and Place. I found the poets and writers in this issue guiding the readers through personal travel, reinterpreting love, finding storytellers who speak against injustice, arriving to truth and lies, confronting disguised gods in both wild and urban landscapes, inevitably welcoming or cursing the seasons, and embracing places we generally overlook.
Obviously, the prose and poetry are not limited to airports, long interstate drives, and places lost in the folds of road maps. The journeys remain apparent and reshape our worldview, whether it is how we articulate the miracle of birth, how we cope with the updating of an out-of-reach national monument, how our palms predict the future, how to accept a migraine, or how we scour the dictionary. We are always witnessing the arrival of change that we often forget to process in our fast-paced lives before it becomes the norm. We resist these urges by capturing the spirit of departures through our words with the same bittersweet feelings whenever we travel.
It is a true honor to be the Guest Editor for this issue of Pilgrimage Magazine and to be a part of its rich history and mission. I hope this issue reflects the importance of community that traverses distance, which is something this magazine always carries. I offer my gratitude and respect to Maria Melendez, the Pilgrimage Board members, the talented artist and writers, and of course you wonderful readers who made this issue possible.