HERE’S the thing about regional journalism, the branch of media we belong to here at Arkansas Life: As an editor—or a writer, photographer, designer, illustrator—you sure can’t help but fall for the place you’re sharing month in and month out with your readers. I mean, it’s basically there in the job description. Meet interesting people! Eat good food! Find what’s best about this place and spread the news far and wide! And when those are your marching orders, it’s easy to make the most of living in the place whose name is on the cover of your publication.

It’s also extremely difficult to leave that place behind—a truth I’m quickly having to come to terms with.

In my case, that place is Arkansas, a place I’ve called home since the age of 7, albeit with a few detours along the way. It’s a place I thought I couldn’t know any better or love any more than I did when I became editor of this magazine six years ago. But over the course of the past 72 issues, my own Arkansas life has been enriched by things I’d otherwise never been exposed to—things like watching an early winter sun rise
over a duck blind and fly-fishing on the White and chowing on catfish fried up by the one and only Mr. Stanley Young. I’ve interviewed artists, folk musicians, philanthropists and free spirits. And I’ve eaten a lot
of barbecue. (Like, a lot of barbecue.)

Most importantly, though, I’ve met so many of you fellow Arkansans. I’ve met enough interesting, innovative folks to fill decades’ worth of “Arkansans of the Year” features (see this year’s iteration here—it’s a good one). Luckily for me, some of the most wonderful folks I’ve met have been those with whom I’ve shared the pleasure of making this magazine. And while this issue is the last one with me in the editor’s chair, I know you’re in good hands from here on out. The very best of hands, actually.

As I write this goodbye to you, it’s snowing in Arkansas and 75 and brilliantly sunny in my new hometown of Phoenix, a meteorological metaphor for my bipolar state of mind these past few months. Life in Arkansas has been good to me, and Arkansas—and my family here at Arkansas Life—will always be home. I’ll just be a little farther afield, continuing to spread the good news about The Natural State, and working on falling in love with the West.