Out of the Ashes
A Note from the Editors
Good and bad, life and death — now especially, polar extremes threaten to set our world ablaze. But even when surrounded by charred ruins, discovery beckons. Because where others might find an elegy, we see the potential to nourish the ground beneath our feet.
In the summer 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you stories of hope emerging out of the ashes.
Engulfed in uncertainty about her family’s safety in California’s ongoing wildfire crisis, Michele Bigley pursues a Quest tracking the trajectory of the cultural burn, and the promise and peril of fire. Encountering wisdom from Western and Indigenous ecologists, she unearths the regenerative power of tending the land with the thing she fears most — and finds A Spark of Hope for the future.
As a conflict journalist in the Middle East, Edmée van Rijn often sifts through the burnt remains of tragedy in search of glimmers of humanity. In her Human & Nature photo feature, she documents how dogsledding set her on a path out of devastation and Into the Whirlwind — where she is pulled energetically to unexpected peace.
Where there was once scorched earth, Jennifer Billock encounters abundant life in Cinquera forest, El Salvador. Her Time Travel feature journeys into a realm of guerrilla tactics and grassroots advances, where protection is as tenuous as it is hard-fought. Amid scars and setbacks, Wartime in the Woods clears a path for resilience.
Sugato Mukherjee takes us to a sacred grove illuminated by burning embers and oil lamps, on the southwest coast of his native India. His intimate Portrait of Theyyam channels a vibrant folk tradition more than a millennium in the making. From the depths of caste oppression rises The God in the Mirror — and a metamorphosis that makes a lasting impression.
Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Dakota badlands set a profound backdrop for Robert Annis’s Chasing Demons feature. As he grieves the conflicted legacies of dual larger-than-life forces on his identity — his father and Theodore Roosevelt — he comes to terms with the Eroded Myths of his upbringing as well as the evolving story of the United States.
As always, we extend our deepest gratitude to our readers, who share our vision of powerful storytelling, and to our contributors, who bring us stories from the frontiers of exploration.
Until the next voyage,
Katie Knorovsky, Managing Editor
Sabine K. Bergmann and Sivani Babu, Hidden Compass Co-Founders