We Alaskans, like most Americans, tend to gravitate toward the theme of love during the cold winter month of February.
Perhaps it’s because we’ve celebrated the more significant winter holidays already: Thanksgiving (though technically not winter, it’s cold enough to qualify), Christmas, and New Years. We’ve cooked and spent and treasured the times. But now, after our quiet January hibernation, we warm to the idea of demonstrating love for those closest to us. The foil-wrapped chocolates are out on display at the grocery stores, oldie love songs fill the radio-waves, jewelry stores fill, and reservation lists for dinner on the 14th are reaching max-capacity. Love is marketed. It’s given a designated day. And it’s in the air.
Yet, we all know that love isn’t a one-month-a-year ordeal. It isn’t something we become aware of once, celebrate, and then put on a shelf for the remainder of 2020. We love, or aim to, all the time. And we love in LOTS of different ways—outside of what we mark with roses.
This February issue of ECHO was curated around the theme of discovering and acknowledging those loves in our lives that we don’t send Valentines to.
It’s about taking stock of the loveliness in someone or something else outside of your date on the 14th. While we may acknowledge the people we love most in February, let’s not be remiss to appreciate those other, often less-defined loves in our lives.
In our opening story, Dr. Jacquelyn Crace-Murray walks us through what it was like to take her son Jake to college in Colorado this Fall, and how she knew he was ready for the road ahead of him. She relates memories with smells, hence the title, Fresh Garden Dirt. I think you’ll enjoy the read.
In another edition of Meghan Wotring’s Homeschooling How-to articles, she shows that finding well-tailored resources that you are passionate about for your kids can make all the difference in their education. But don’t let the fear of failing get in your way. Do your homework, take a risk, and find a curriculum that works and that you love. She will help guide you.
As we move farther away from the winter solstice, who doesn’t love the glorious reappearing of our sun and the longer days it summons? In her piece, Alaska’s Valentine, Kaylene Johnson-Sullivan speaks of the blessing of more sunlight in February.
In this month’s feature story, Daniel Shepard introduces us to a man by the name of Lamar Sloss, who discovered two of the greatest loves of his life through the art of crepe-making. Though his passion for specialty crepe-making was born in Tennessee, he recently brought his craft to Alaska and now co-owns a flourishing business. If you’re like me, Daniel’s article will send you looking for a chance to venture into Anchorage to try one of Lamar’s creations for yourself. The other big takeaway? Doing what you love is the most satisfying way to live.
Similarly, our veteran contributor Frank Baker’s piece “My love of nature began early,” is a sentimental nod to the author’s cherished roots in the outdoors. With all of the articles about hiking that Frank writes for ECHO, it’s evident that his love for nature has touched his life in many significant and formative ways.
And finally, Dru Stinson’s review of the Christmas Cirque Dreams Holidaze performance is worth a read. Dru, like so many these days, has learned that sharing experience is often a better way to express love than giving things.
As you comb through this issue, I hope you’ll be inspired to search out the often unspoken loves in your life. Let’s not let another February go by without really taking stock of how much love has touched us—the people, nature, your experiences, your passions, and your faith. All of these are blessings too good to put on the shelf during the month of love.
All the best!
Editor, ECHO Magazine