Slow Seasons

Slow Stories︎ 2022
Versions of these stories first appeared in Slow Stories’s editorial series “Slow Seasons” in January and June 2022

Summer 2022: Summer Is

Summer is here. Its symmetry used to bring me a sense of comfort. You’re halfway through the year—here’s a look at who you’ve been and who you’ll become. It’s a season whose story is told repeatedly, yet the words don’t hold the same meaning. Now, it’s nostalgia and reckoning—a crossroads, a threshold.

I started writing this letter after a lifelong dream came true but before the abhorrent ruling to overturn Roe v. Wade. I’d venture to say (especially given the past few years) that most of us have grown used to navigating a dual state of joy and despair. Still, something about this season always seems to delineate the two even further. In this way, summer’s symmetry feels ominous—here’s a look at how far you’ve come and how much is at stake in the months ahead. Yet no matter where I find myself, my questions remain the same. What will this time mean to us? What is summer today?


Summer is a growing pain. Explosions of green foliage blanket the streets. Leaves become entangled, and gardens are overgrown. Ripples of light and heat pour in from all directions. For so long, there is nothing, and then suddenly, here is everything.

What did it take for you to get to this point? Who left alongside the last crisp spring breeze? What foundations crumbled and had to be rebuilt? Sometimes, summer is a sunburn on the soul. You can’t reach it, but it’s there. It hurts. It heals.


Summer is a body. It’s stretched legs on wrinkled picnic blankets. It’s river-hued bruises and clusters of bug bites. It’s blood, sweat, and tears. It’s sacred. It’s yours.

The sun’s rays are a friendly wave, a fist in the air, a hand to hold—reach out and don’t be afraid to let go. Step into the shade, dust the earth off your jeans and take a step in a new direction. The pavement is hot, and the sidewalks are crowded. Find your balance on this path; there is so much work to be done.


Summer is a mind. It’s fresh soil and fertile ground for the imagination. It’s a constellation of daydreams and meditations. It’s golden hour descending atop the roofs of houses. It’s orange light, the spark of an idea.

But it’s overwhelming at times—everything sticks to you in the summer: the good and bad, inside and out. Decide what thoughts are worth pursuing, and then release what’s left into the wild. Smell the beads of sweat enmeshed with the scent of fresh flowers, tap on their petals, and watch dew drops flatten into iridescent pools. There is a slow rush of anticipation. Try not to overthink things.


Summer is a heart. It’s hot and heavy. It’s relief and rage.

It announces itself in a fiery blaze of emotion. It has a rhythm all its own. Feel it beating in tandem with your breath. Feel it dancing in your chest as you dance with the one you love. Yet we know that when daylight breaks, so can a heart. Let the heat of the moment fuel the moments to come.

Summer is a sky. It’s baby blue and cotton candy and charcoal gray. It’s cracks of thunder, beams of lightning. It’s flocks of birds and faraway galaxies. It’s the past, present, and future all rolled up into one vast layer. It’s a reminder to look up.

Let its expansiveness amaze you. Let small acts of humanity humble you. Let this imperfect season hold you in a warm embrace—because soon enough, we’ll ask: Where did summer go? Then we’ll wait.

Winter 2022: Branch by Branch

The trees outside of my window resemble spikes. Their bare branches split in different directions, reaching toward the sky haphazardly as if in prayer. In winter, there's less to look at and more to consider. At times it's disorienting to find that my view is unobstructed. When I watch what's left of these trees quiver in the wind, I feel comforted by their silent resolve.

Trees have come up more than I've expected over the years. From Olivia Gossett Cooper's book recommendation, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, to Katie Kitamura's discussion of "tree time" with novelist Elif Shafak, there seems to be an inherent understanding that trees equate to slowness, attention. "Something [Shafak] said to me is, 'you know, tree time is different from human time.'" Kitamura recalled during our interview last fall. (Kitamura was alluding to their conversation about Shafak's novel The Island of Missing Trees.) "She later went on to tell me that when she was talking about trying to access tree time, I realized she was describing not just a different experience of temporality but also a different perspective."

Changing our perspective isn't a new idea. Even still, it's something I'm thinking about a lot as the year begins—regarding the work I do. The questions I ask and the people who answer them.


What would you say if I told you that sometimes I shake before starting an interview? My cheeks flush. Fear sits at the base of my stomach and the tip of my tongue. If I had it my way, my voice would barely register above a whisper. But the world, even now, still demands a level of loudness that is inextricably linked to value and success.

And yet, I like to think of winter as a whisper. You feel its sharp breath on your ear, and just as quickly as the feeling registers, it's gone. Winter is a season when things are laid bare. For many, it's become a time that's synonymous with uncertainty just as much as respite. For me, it's a period where words don't always flow as freely—where the stripped branches catch them mid-sentence, hardening their edges. Where they sit like buds, waiting to blossom into something worth saying aloud.


What if I told you that Slow Stories began as a podcast because I needed to (physically) speak up? Because I had spent nearly a decade operating in the digital realm, where everything could be said with the click of a button. Because I didn't want to lose my voice.

I recently stumbled upon Susan Orlean's series "Afterword" for The New Yorker. Dubbed an "obituary column," Orlean pays tribute to "people, places, and things that we've lost." In the latest installment, "The Tallest Known Tree in New York Falls in the Forest," Orlean examines the rise and (literal) fall of Tree 103 this past December. As the story's name indicates, Tree 103 was a formidable being. But "Tree 103 was scarred and scabby; it creaked in the wind; it sagged in the rain," Orlean writes. "It had lost the dewy glow that it had back in 1675, but haven't we all lost the lustre of our youth?"

It took me a long time to understand the difference between loss and growth. To recognize that, like trees, we fall. But before that, we bloom.


When I was younger, I regarded time as linear and remote. Now I'm less concerned with spending it and more worried about how we'll relate to one another as time passes—how the bonds of trust have been broken as the world continues to shift beneath our feet. But maybe it goes back to changing our perspective.

In Wintering, Katherine May writes about enduring the difficult chapters of our lives. "The tree is waiting. It has everything ready ..." she remarks while writing about seasonal transformation. "It is far from dead. It is in fact the life and soul of the wood. It's just getting on with it quietly. It will not burst into life in the spring. It will just put on a new coat and face the world again."

The next time I look up, golden hour has descended, and the tops of the trees are glowing. The naked branches sway and bathe in a faint pool of orange light. I watch them from the window and think about what I will ask my interviewees this year. I can pose a question, and it could sprout in a million different directions, or it could go unanswered. It could fall flat. But before that, it will bloom with possibility.

There are so many slow stories waiting to be told. I want to know them. I want to warm up to the world. I want to rebuild trust in others and in myself, branch by branch, this season and beyond.