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Autumn 2021

Riddles of Devotion

A Note From the Editors

Every journey begins with a puzzle. Some quandaries captivate the mind, coaxing us into labyrinths of introspection. Other inquiries launch far-reaching missions. What compels us forward can prove as perplexing as the terrain we encounter. In the autumn 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you riddles of devotion — stories that delve into...

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Painting by Scott Denholm.
Painting by Scott Denholm.
Painting by Scott Denholm.
Painting by Scott Denholm.
Autumn 2021

Riddles of Devotion

A Note from the Editors

Every journey begins with a puzzle. Some quandaries captivate the mind, coaxing us into labyrinths of introspection. Other inquiries launch far-reaching missions. What compels us forward can prove as perplexing as the terrain we encounter.

In the autumn 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we bring you riddles of devotion — stories that delve into curiosity and seek to decipher meaning.

The River Has No Hair — koan, or cautionary tale? That’s the enigma at the heart of J.R. Patterson’s Time Travel exploits along Brazil’s snaking São Francisco River. In pursuit of 19th-century explorer Richard Francis Burton’s legacy, Patterson probes the waterway’s past and present while navigating perceptions and reality, obstructions and guidance.

Thousands of miles to the north, Lauren Napier faces fenced-off histories in her Quest to access the truth of Camp Naco and the Buffalo Soldiers stationed there during the Mexican Revolution. From this crumbling adobe outpost, she traces sometimes overlapping Lines of Duty along the desert roads of Arizona and the fertile byways of Virginia, encountering variations on enslavement and the promise of presence.

Also searching for understanding, semi-professional dancer Megan Taylor Morrison follows her passion for Lindy Hop and jazz dance to the West African country of Guinea, where lessons in doundounba, the dance of the strong man, await. Her Portrait of Africa’s first national dance company, Les Ballets Africains, moves to the beat of the djembe drum and balafon, revealing a call and response pulsing with cultural resilience and adaptation. From the stage to the streets, she depicts a tireless tradition of Roots in Motion.

Balancing risk and impulse, Cherene Sherrard carries The Weight of Paradise into the surf. Her Chasing Demons feature rides a wave of racially informed limitations and historic precedent, buoyed by the spirit of Mami Wata and the literary voices of Jesmyn Ward and Toni Morrison. The peril and possibility of boundless freedom saturates the accompanying paintings by Scott Denholm.

In his Human & Nature photo feature, Olivier Guiberteau documents his shifting perception of shinrin-yoku, the Japanese practice of forest-bathing. After more than a year of edification — both inadvertent and intentional, anecdotal and academic — he arrives at A Clearing in the Forest.

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

Summer 2021

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...

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A bicycle and palm tree burn in Napa, California, during the LNU Lightning Complex fire, part of a "lightning siege" that struck California in August 2020 and ignited hundreds of wildfires. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP.
A bicycle and palm tree burn in Napa, California, during the LNU Lightning Complex fire, part of a "lightning siege" that struck California in August 2020 and ignited hundreds of wildfires. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP.
Summer 2021

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

Spring 2021

Shifting Currents

A Note From the Editors

Whether gentle or fierce, the forces around us rarely remain stagnant. Those changes carry the power to carve out our futures. In the spring 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we turn our sights to shifting currents — in all their forms — and the stories they inspire. Coursing headfirst into the unfamiliar for our...

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Seen in this merging of satellite imagery taken in 1999 and 2000, the Sundarbans appears like an intricate tapestry. Here where the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna Rivers meet at the edge of the Bay of Bengal stands one of the world's largest remaining tract of mangrove forest — a natural wall protecting the coasts of India and Bangladesh and providing a rich habitat for endangered Bengal tigers, hundreds of bird species, and an array of sharks and rays. Recent research shows that a quarter of its trees exhibit signs of declining health. Photo: B.A.E. Inc./Alamy.
Photo: B.A.E. Inc./Alamy.
Seen in this merging of satellite imagery taken in 1999 and 2000, the Sundarbans appears like an intricate tapestry. Here where the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna Rivers meet at the edge of the Bay of Bengal stands one of the world's largest remaining tract of mangrove forest — a natural wall protecting the coasts of India and Bangladesh and providing a rich habitat for endangered Bengal tigers, hundreds of bird species, and an array of sharks and rays. Recent research shows that a quarter of its trees exhibit signs of declining health. Photo: B.A.E. Inc./Alamy.
Photo: B.A.E. Inc./Alamy.
Spring 2021

Shifting Currents

A Note from the Editors

Whether gentle or fierce, the forces around us rarely remain stagnant. Those changes carry the power to carve out our futures.

In the spring 2021 issue of Hidden Compass, we turn our sights to shifting currents — in all their forms — and the stories they inspire.

Coursing headfirst into the unfamiliar for our Human and Nature feature, Morgan Tilton investigates the extremes of a changing climate, from the scientific breakthroughs that help us measure its impact to the incalculable effects on our identity. In exploring A River of Unknowns, Tilton ventures not just from the snow-coated mountains of Vancouver Island to the infamous waves of its coast — but into the tumultuous atmosphere above us all.

Colin Daileda also leads us into the clouds, though they are the murky clouds of silt in the waterways of the Bengal delta. In this ecosystem undergoing rapid transformation, researchers seek the Ganges shark, an enigma that has spent over a century Lost in the Shallows. This Time Travel feature tracks the evolution of land and water as well as a dichotomy of exploration styles.

Sometimes shifting currents arise in the very structures of our societies. Former military officer and historical painter Robert Permeti — the subject of Lottie GrossPortrait feature — experienced Albania’s swing from a brutal communist regime into a new era. Amidst an upheaval of power, pride, and art, Permeti lost masterpieces, gained freedom, and followed his homeland off the edge of convention and into The Abyss.

The precarious nature of prominence and power also makes an appearance in Moriah Costa’s Quest feature, Blue in Toulouse, in which Costa digs for a largely forgotten Renaissance-era story in southern France. Her research, experiences, and illustrations give color to the boom-and-bust narrative of woad and the boundless influence of its shifting shades.

And for Gemina Garland-Lewis, currents of change appear across the decades and around the world — from the American influence on Japanese whaling after WWII to the modern demand for whale meat in Norway. For this vegetarian who grew up dreaming of becoming a marine biologist, it’s the progression of her own outlook that leaps to the front of this stunning photo feature and Chasing Demons story. Happiness, grief, reverence, and overcoming cultural biases all take center stage as Garland-Lewis considers Whaling and the Paradox of Mercy.

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

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