Four years allows time for the rhythms of Westhampton Lake to reveal themselves. As you read this, the tumultuous hues of autumn have given way to winter’s stunning monochrome. It will be broken in an instant by the bursting of spring’s soft colors before we ease into summer’s deep greens. Show me a snapshot of the lake, and I can tell you not only whether summer’s humidity or a cloud of winter breath thickened the air, but also the approximate hour of day when the photographer pressed the shutter.
There is comfort in a familiar view that deepens with time, but there is also myopia as we settle into what we know. That’s why I think you’ll enjoy the aerial photos of campus in this issue. For me, they offer the view of one of the birds crisscrossing the walkways and lake. I’ve seen thousands of photos of campus, but when our designer first showed me these, I saw something of Richmond I’d never seen before.
That impulse — to see the familiar anew — could be a theme for this issue. I recall an alumni publication that I once saw, from another institution, not Richmond. Under a cover photo of a wooden swing on a sunlit porch, the headline read, “Memories and hopes.” That could be the cover line of every issue, the editor joked, but then he kept turning out issues for which it always worked.
Our evergreen cover line would, I think, echo the sense these aerial photos evoke. Richmond can feel like a timeless place. Across generations, we have all climbed its hills and walked the lakeside paths. Our connection as Spiders is vital. But the institution is not static, and, as with the photos, we have much to gain as we continue to see it anew.