Editor's Letter


The old adage ‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ perhaps never hit home quite as hard as over the past 18 months, and, boy, has it hit in some unexpected ways. Who would have thought to be grateful for not having to breathe through an elasticated sheet of paper day in and day out or those carefree days when a grocery run did not feel like engaging in chemical warfare.

But, of all the things that were lost, and then found, and then lost again, and then found again, nothing has had as profound an impact – real, mood-altering, psychological –like losing our connection with the outdoors.

In the beginning, it was fun. No more office, no more morning outfit crises, no more going out to do anything – an obligatory staycation, house arrest without the fun police. But slowly, ever so slowly, like a confinement continental drift, the walls started moving in.

You did not notice it at first, but you did start noticing everything else. (‘My God, this chair is killing my back’, ‘Has this room always been that awful colour?’, ‘Why do I own no wall art?’) And so you started shopping – online, of course – for all the things you never knew you needed, and it was glorious. From 2020 to 2024, the homeware market is projected to grow by $79.29 billion. We did not realise it then, but we were trying to fill the inside with the void left by the outside.

When that did not work, you tried the next best thing: houseplants. Succulents for the non-committals, fiddle leaves for the bourgeois. Pretty soon everyone you knew was a proud plant parent with a dentist-waiting-room palm and a woeful tale of sapling-based infanticide. We called our homes ‘jungalows’ and we thought it was okay. But nothing was okay. You see, just like our nomadic ancestors, we humans are meant to be outside, in the wild or, at the very least, at a parkrun.

Fortunately, we have another adage, ‘Nothing lasts forever’, and that one proved to be true, too. Restrictions lowered, we all got to be pilot-episode Kimmy Schmidt for a day, and before long, it was like nothing had changed.

The truth, though, is that something has changed: we finally understand, and appreciate, just how great the great outdoors is. In this issue, we invite you to celebrate the freedom of our open spaces and be thankful for the soul-nourishing comfort that our gardens provided when we needed them most. Yes, even the potted ones you keep over-watering to death.

Catch you outside,

Piet Smedy, Editor-in-Chief

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