Southern Living reminds us “What Stands in a Storm”

(Photo by Robbie Caponetto, courtesy Southern Living)

This week, Southern Living‘s August issue hits newsstands with special coverage of the aftermath of April’s tornadoes that tore through the heart of the South. Entitled “What Stands in a Storm,” the special section paints a touching portrait of perseverance and pain, faith and fellowship.

For weeks now, the writers, photographers, videographers and editors at Southern Living have been hard at work collecting storm stories for both for the print and online editions of the magazine. Even a quick visit to their website gives you a sense of the depth and breadth of their coverage:

•A documentary short entitled “Lost & Found: Memory Quilt” on the landing page tells the story of a cherished heirloom found 75 miles from where its owner lost nearly everything.

•Birmingham meteorologist James Spann reflects on the historic magnitude of the storms and ponders their legacy.

•A series of short articles entitled “Lessons from the Storm” shares the accounts of a couple dozen victims and volunteers and what they learned from the tragedy.

•The title feature “What Stands in a Storm” looks at the three great Southern universals – faith, food and fellowship – and what they meant to victims and volunteers alike.

•No doubt the soulful anchor of this issue is an essay entitled “When the Winds Died Down” by author Rick Bragg. With his characteristically Southern prose, Bragg reflects on coming home to his devastated Tuscaloosa neighborhood to find that, although many of the houses and most of the trees were gone, the neighborhood itself remained as strong as the indomitable Southern spirit.

I, for one, have been guilty of dismissing Southern Living at times as simply a “women’s magazine” – the home of recipes and decorating tips for bored, upper-middle class housefraüs. This issue reminds me of its ongoing importance to the Southern cultural landscape, that when we may have lost our landmarks we still have touchstones that can’t be broken, battered or buried. Southern Living, you may be a women’s magazine, but your a Southern women’s magazine. For that, this Southern man is grateful.

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