The Camellia: The Queen of the Winter Garden

January 4, 2014 Comments
Camellias have always drawn the attention of gardeners and non-gardeners alike with their luxuriant flowers, glossy evergreen foliage and untimely season of bloom.

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What’s love got to do with it?

January 3, 2014 Comments
Birds do it, bees do it... So go the lyrics to an old standard by Cole Porter. The do it, according to Porter, is falling in love. But in the words of the more recent songstress, Tina Turner, Whats love got to do with it? When it comes to bees and plants and the ancient symbiotic role they play in the survival of mankind, love does not enter the eq...

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Emerging from the Chrysalis

January 2, 2014 Comments
My daughter’s first encounter with a caterpillar ended badly for the caterpillar. She was 3. We’d planted some lettuce seeds in a flower pot, and one day we found a green inchworm had chewed up all our seedlings. She dispatched it with the sole of her sandal. I tried to conceal my horror.

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Reaching for the Stars: How one German scientist transformed Huntsville into the Rocket City

January 1, 2014 Comments
The cliché in North Alabama is that Huntsville was “a nice little cotton town” before the German scientists arrived after World War II and built a moon rocket — and a modern metropolis — in the 25 miles between the banks of the Tennessee River and the Tennessee state line.

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​Imagination Changes Everything

December 31, 2013 Comments
Artist Pat Potter’s current project challenges the viewer to see the ordinary in extraordinary detail. Using found objects laden with symbolism and with accompanying photographs, she creates a path of discovery of the complexities of the world around us. 

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Georgia O’Keeffe, the early years

December 30, 2013 Comments
Any checklist of outstanding American artist couples would begin with Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz. Each had a significant influence on 20th-century American modernism — she as a sketch artist and painter, and he as a photographer, writer, gallery owner and champion of contemporary art.

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Gideon v. Wainwright: How a pitiable petty thief came to write his name in the Great Book of Law

December 29, 2013 Comments
His name will forever be linked with a transformation of our legal system — the principle that, though you are poor, weak or a member of a despised caste or party — you have a right to your own counsel when accused of a crime.

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Gideon's Promise

December 28, 2013 Comments
Ilham Askia was the person the courts usually don’t think about. When Askia was a 5-year-old in Buffalo, New York, her father was convicted on an armed robbery charge and sent to prison, where he’d remain for most of her childhood.

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The Defense Needs to Rest

December 27, 2013 Comments
A phone call at nine o’clock on Monday morning was the first pebble of Reuben Miller’s career avalanche.

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War by other means: Four thousand pounds of muscle and will...

September 22, 2013 Comments
Four thousand pounds of offensive and defensive linemen crash against each other, a muddle of muscle and will and suddenly ... an opening appears and the quarterback is visible as if he were in a display window.

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Winter Issue Out Now

Waiting. Tis the season: waiting for parties, waiting for Santa, waiting for bowl games, waiting for Longleaf!
 
Now that you’re holding Longleaf in your hand, you need wait no longer for multiple versions of this issue’s theme — “Transformation.” Each story brings a realization that some of the things we take for granted have evolved from quite different origins.
 
You will find that much of our food and plant life took human imagination to grow into what we have today. But the transformation has happened in a partnership between people and such pesky critters as bees! They may sting, but Pat Kettles shows how bees are crucial to our food supply. From Hayes Jackson’s story on the Southern favorite Camellia, we can see the remarkable transformation resulting from creative hybridizing.
 
More on our insect friends comes from our first editor, Geni Certain, who has sheperded butterflies into the world from their protective coverings! She wrote about the Monarch butterfly migration in the second issue of Longleaf; now it seems that butterflies find a home with her! Geni is not only a writer and butterfly Mom — she is a gifted photographer, as you can see on our cover and in her story.
 
Changing gears, we welcome a new writer to Longleaf. Lee Roop brings us the story of the transformation of Huntsville from small town to the thriving metropolis of today. This is a very different kind of change caused entirely by people and their creation of NASA.
 
Skipping around again, the fascinating story of the painter Georgia O’Keeffe and the photographer Alfred Stieglitz is told by our favorite art critic, Mary Eloise H. Leake.
 
 And we have the privilege of bringing the first look at local artist Pat Potter’s remarkable work in imagining a new dimension in Alabama’s terrain between the Little River Canyon and Mount Cheaha. The beautiful photography is by an equally beautiful Frenchwoman, Claire Boscher who collaborated with Pat on this project. Called “Isomorphic Maps,” Pat’s newest work challenges the viewer to use the artist’s eye to look at the land around us.
 
Finally, as Longleaf continues to examine critical issues in our society, we come to an important moment in 20th century history: defending the defensless among us. Most readers will recall Harper Lee’s book and the subsequent movie To Kill a Mockingbird. Though Atticus Finch was not a public defender, he took on the case for no charge because he believed in the right of all those who face trial to a competent defense. This principle was the basis of the seminal Supreme Court ruling on this subject: Gideon v. Wainwright. We include in our special section an explanation of this decision by H. Brandt Ayers, a story by Tim Lockette about the organization Gideon’s Promise, which trains public defenders from around the country, and as a bonus, a terrific piece of fiction by our friend Beth Duke.
 
So I hope you find that the waiting was worthwhile, and that “Transformation” takes you into a blessed and prosperous New Year with more amusing and thought-provoking stories to come!

Josephine E. Ayers
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