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.


Erik Vass

The camera eye
closing some
four thousand Sundays ago 
in on unremarkable
husks of wild carrot
or possibly yarrow
that the hoar frost 
in veiling unveiled.
It’s unromantic but 
their union was weather, 
unwilled conditions,
one cold form sparking 
another. As I think 
of witness, of being
the witness’s witness,
braiding time, I see myself
seeing the world intact
as mirage, my two
persistent hoods inevident
through tricks of mind,
so every modest 
wholeness grows
to filter intervals
of dark with light,
next meeting next
until I’m known 
before birth while 
dreamed beyond life.
Belief releases the shutter, 
faith operates the archive.