Summer means different things in different places.
In Wisconsin, where the winters are longer and less hospitable, summers are celebrated with more intensity and appreciation than in southern climes. Summer here is a fugitive time, a time to seize the days and get outdoors, a time for fairs and festivals and refreshment. Do you like walleye, rhubarb, butter, strawberries, blueberries, cranberries? Cheese, cheese curds, brats, burgers, bluegrass, the blues, the circus? Kites, polkas, fiestas, old cars, old trucks, tractors, or hodags? If so, there's a summer festival somewhere in Wisconsin for you. Me, I like the long days and the cool nights and waking just before dawn to birdsong. And summer finds me on the softball field with the other old timers, playing our version of the national pastime, perhaps a step slower than last year but still stepping up to the plate. By the time this hits your mailbox, we will be late into a summer that I hope has been a respite after another long pandemic winter with all the related and unrelated challenges that face our state and our world. I hope this issue is a welcome diversion, an oasis of civil discourse. In this issue we look at the role researchers in Wisconsin are playing in fighting the pandemic, and efforts to combat climate change through carbon sequestration. We visit local one of the farms giving new meaning to farm-to-table. We explore monumental murals in Milwaukee and three artists whose work at mid-century helped establish the city as a place of international significance in the world of art and architecture. And if you’re looking for some good summer read, there’s new fiction and poetry by up-and-coming Wisconsin writers. So enjoy these fleeting summer months, and bring us along, wherever you go: the garden, the cabin, the park, the river, the lake, your own backyard. Let’s celebrate the seasonal riches of our state together—the natural world, the culture, the food, the people—those things upon which we can agree.