The past is open in all ways. We wade into its murky banks, sinking our toes into its silt. We let its waters lap at our ankles, our knees, our waists, until we're carried along by an inevitable current.

The Passenger Pigeon's call once echoed along the banks of the so-called "Pigeon River" in North Carolina. During their annual migration, they would flock in massive murmurations, their bodies nesting snugly into the boughs of American Chestnuts.

The Smoky Mountains begin at the Pigeon River, stretching along its banks until reaching the Little Tennessee River, snaking from Mount Chapman to Tricorner Knob to Shuckstack. They rise out of a wild past, out of salamanders and black bears, out of limestone and schist.

About All Ways Open is a publication aiming to tell small stories about place: stories about pigeons and mountain ranges, stories both real and imagined. It's an experiment in opening writing outwards, directing readers towards visual histories and archives. We aim to think in triplicate: to consider past / present / future, visual / written / read, self / friend /community. We consider arrangments loosely, allowing threads to tangle segments together.

All Ways Open is open for submissions.


Susan Bartolme

A Walk With Nature 

You say you wished it was a snake that bit him.  

I wish it was a snake that had bitten him.  

Wasn’t no act of the judicious serpent, hun. Just a tiny little tick taking a tiny hungry bite. It’s  one out of a billion other impulse functions reverberating across this great ecological cosmos  every minute.  

Maybe the tick is sick. Maybe it has a disease. 

No baby, it don’t. It’s just a normal, healthy tick. The man will be fine. 


Hm. Where you from? You look like turkeys wandering a shoppin’ mall out here.  Chicago

Oh that sounds nice. What brought you here?  

Work. I work for him.  

The man you want to hurt?  

Yes. I’m furthering his research on the ways in which environmental pollutants in this region  have impacted plant physiology. The paper, our paper, is being published this month. That  scumbag isn’t putting my name on it.  

Well that seems like a shame.  

I deserve some recognition. I did most of the synthesis. But he refuses. I’ll be a ghost in the  work.  

You might should punish him then. There’s poison oak over not far. I can show you.  I regret helping him at all. The money wasn’t worth it. I just want this whole experience to end.  Oh honey. Never nothin’ ends.  

It can though, I learned. It will. If you make it.