photograph by Andrew Kornylak

Dear Our State family,

Next week, on October 18, the November issue of Our State magazine will be mailed to more than 170,000 subscribers. We’ve been working on this issue, which is devoted to the rivers of North Carolina, for more than a year. At press time, Hurricane Matthew was a tropical storm in the Caribbean; none of us anticipated the devastation that would hit eastern North Carolina.

As you’ve come to expect from Our State, the stories in this issue are poignant reflections on what our rivers mean to North Carolinians — from one writer’s 200-mile journey down the Cape Fear, to a Methodist minister’s return to Hertford and his beloved Perquimans River, to a celebration of the Tar River’s role in reviving Rocky Mount Mills.

Today, as we watch the heartbreaking news from Lumberton, from Fayetteville, from Kinston, we are reminded that the places where we find peace and beauty can become destructive and deadly. Our hearts and prayers are with the residents — our friends — in Beaufort, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Edgecombe, Hoke, Johnston, Lenoir, Nash, Pitt, and Robeson, the places hardest hit by rising flood waters.

We chose to devote an entire issue to our rivers because of their power to bring families and communities together. In the coming days we’ll brace for the crest, and then, once again, come together — this time, to rebuild.

This story was published on

Hudson is a native of North Carolina who grew up in the small community of Farmer, near Asheboro. She holds a B.A. degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and began her publishing career in 1997 at Our State magazine. She held various editorial titles for 10 years before becoming Editor in Chief of the 80-year-old publication in 2009. For her work with the magazine, Hudson is also the 2014 recipient of the Ethel Fortner Writer and Community Award, an award that celebrates contributions to the literary arts of North Carolina.