When I first read a draft of Elizabeth Cranford Garcia’s essay “An Apology for Speculation”, my mind turned to words I associated with “speculation”: spectacular, perspective, speculum, spectacles. Over the past few centuries the term has taken on negative connotations that associate it with straying into unwanted territory—‘speculating’ on ideas much like a ‘speculator’ gambling on land values. However, for many years the term, and its associates, simply meant to ponder, imagine, or to look at closely. A speculum was another word for a mirror, a device that allowed the user to discover something new by looking at things more closely or in a new way. In her essay, Elizabeth recaptures some of the old sense of this word by exploring the ways in which literature has helped her see life in a new way.
This issue’s featured artist, Alyce Bailey, uses art to explore new ways of seeing the world. Her simple portraits of animals invite the viewer to stop and contemplate these creatures that we might normally pass by without a second glance. These striking images invite speculation on the diversity of life on Earth and the love of God for all creatures. This month we also offer the twelfth episode of our poetry podcast “Words Fall In”, where Melonie interviews the winners of our 2019 poetry contest. We hope that each of these offerings of images and words inspires you to speculate, contemplate, and create.