Editor's Note: Iris stands in solidarity with the APIDA communities at U.Va. and beyond. We are heartbroken by the act of hatred in Atlanta that took eight lives on Tuesday, March 16th, 2021, and send our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the victims. In response, we share this statement by the Women's Center and state unequivocally: anti-Asian racism has no place in Iris or in our world.
It was just before nine in the morning when the song sparrows outside my bedroom sounded off a breakfast chorus. The cardinals joined them swiftly, chirping as they took turns snapping safflower seeds in their tiny beaks. I watched a mourning dove collect delicate fibers from the flower bed just beneath the commotion. Now the proud architect of a new nest, she fluttered back and forth between a nearby holly tree and the ground. I heard her coo gently as she flew past my closed window, dried tendrils in tow.
On a Zoom meeting, I apologized to my classmates for the background noise. We chuckled about it beneath our sweatshirts and bedhead, as if bewildered that any creature could be so peppy at this hour. I muted my microphone for the sake of silence, but glanced over to enjoy the commotion for myself.
“It’s actually kind of nice,” my classmate chimed in a few moments later. “It sounds like spring.” Pleasantly surprised, I turned my audio back on. For the rest of class, we recited muscular anatomy atop chattery birdsong until later, I opened my window to enjoy the symphony. The glass panes creaked loudly as I slid them upward, letting out a long-awaited yawn and stretch after months of being shut.
With this themed edition of Iris, we hear the beckoning bird call of spring just beyond our walls. Some writers, having had plenty of time to reminisce, are ready to open the window widely and yell out. In light of Bon Appetit exposés and exhausting demands to “take up less space”, Kim Salac gathers the courage to ask herself, Whose permission are you waiting for? Though its “crisp snap” has been marred by a past relationship, Chloe Lyda — instilled with bubbling boldness as spring arrives — admits, I Don’t Hate Seltzer All That Much.
Other writers find comfort in the closed window. They choose to enjoy the muffled song of the wren, basking in it for just a bit longer. Sadie Randall wrestles with the passing of seasons in Break Even, encouraging us to live in the present. Pasha McGuigan takes this advice to heart as she captures life’s little moments in hard copy using Disposable Cameras. With a similar affinity for the slightly “out of focus,” Juliana Callen encapsulates the soft comforts of spring as Sfumato: Vanished Gradually Like Smoke. Lulu Jastaniah offers us A Penny for Hope, with the realization that to be hopeful is to be vulnerable and “asburd”.
For many, the era of closed windows has been a contemplative one. Though isolated, the season provided time to nurture our thoughts like plants in a greenhouse. Now, the warblers’ harmony coaxes us gently to the glass. Whether you unlatch the lock with the marked resolve of a chickadee’s dee-dee-dee, or hum the tune comfortably from a safe space, spring welcomes you regardless.