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Issue 4 - Rewilding

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Excerpts from Rewilding: Issue 4

'The day Big Tree falls...'

by Elizabeth Gibson

…my mother comes and makes me eggs
with cheese and purple onions.
I don’t want to be alone, stretching hours,
waking and remembering all over again.
The last time I felt this was upon breaking up,
that distinct fear of both losing a good thing,
and losing something you had even before that:
a friend-to-lover-to-gone,
a space inside you for a birch to grow.

We go to Lidl, her idea, then home
past the wound, the woodchip and grey space
and it stings less than I thought.
Maybe I’ll be ready to do it alone when I have to,
– it is hurt-sick-making
how swiftly a loss like this can occur and pass.

I knew it would happen, that final night,
head and shoulders outside my window,
and the orchestra of tree and wind and train
and light, calling, “You, yes! you. Come here,”
and embracing me. I goodbyed, letting go
of a feather that climbed and dropped,
traced the fox’s nose, annoyed the owl.
I still almost think I hear them, in the mystery hours.
My mother leaves me chocolate seashells.
They remind me to be hopeful in the morning.
I haven’t cried. I am full of the not-yet-open
and the already-done. The in-between,
that we have together, barely lasts at all.
Hold it close.

'Gone Fishing'

by Nanda Saravamam

Outside, there is a brook. It bisects
this small patch of land like a dirty,
grey scar, winding past beyond
where I can feasibly see. It is flanked
on both sides by a furrowing ditch of
weeds and long greenery. Above it
hangs the lazy boughs of a caval-
cade of pining trees whose shadows
express the sanctimony that is found
endlessly in the interstice between
longing and loss.

I have never been to the brook. Not
really. It flows past me through my
first-floor window. The worn tarmac
that runs alongside it is more my
speed. In all honesty, you’d never
catch me anywhere near a brook of
my own volition. I’m hardly the out-
door type. I might miss something on
the telly. The closest I’ve ever gotten
to it is the tiny bridge that spans the
gap at the end of the dirt track that
meanders out there. You have to
gingerly walk across its rotting steel
expanse these days. So as to avoid
ever falling into the brook.

There are no fish in the brook. That’s
what my neighbour tells me. He is a
stout, broad, and genial shape of a
man, leaning languorously against his
motorcycle. Its engine hums quietly
as he talks.

“You see, son, there were fish here,
once.” He yawns. He has lived here
for a very long time. This, he says
as he gestures behind him, was his
father’s house, and his father’s land
beyond that. I’m not sure how much
I believe him, but I nod all the same.
It’s only polite.

“Is that so?”

“Aye, aye! And full of fish, it was. 
Water up to here!” he exclaims. His hand is vigorously gesturing to his waist. I look over his motorcycle to the trickle of water that burbles away. I struggle to think of it ever being higher than the few centimetres it scrapes across now. He gesticulates wildly as he continues his tale. It was a roaring river, he says, full of quietold men who would rather spendtheir time at the brook’s edge fishingfor nothing in particular than spendtime with their families. That as theevening sky split its sad infinities, youcould see the piercing clarity of thebrook reflect it back like a generouslover. That in the dead of night, thetrees would huddle their spindlybranches together over it, extend-ing arms in piety. He sidles over hismotorcycle and affixes a shiny blackhelmet to his head. He sighs one last,heavy time.“Not like that anymore, anyway. Iwonder why?” he mourns, kicking thebike into gear, and sputtering away,leaving me standing there alone. Athin stream of oil follows behind him,leaking out of an errant exhaust. Itshimmers with all the colours of theworld before shuddering back to itsdull black lustre as the sun disap-pears behind a cloud.

From my window, there is little to
be seen. I am the sort of person that
prefers the blinds down at all times in
any case. But I can hear it, out there.
Beating down with a hatred that
reminds me of David and his pretty
little sling. I slide one of the blinds up
and peer at the scene occurring just
beyond my thin pane of pale glass.
The rain seems like it will never stop.

In all my long and uneventful years, I
have never quite seen rain like it.
It never used to rain like this. It used
to be civil back then. Curt, even. Re-
spectful of our spinning, busy world.
Understanding of the boundaries
that we forged between here, and
there. The sea and its fury stay out
there, and the land, so wonderfully
distraught, stays here, high, and dry.
Maybe the odd spray every now and
then. Just a friendly reminder.

I have never seen rain quite like it.

That is a lie. I have seen rain like it
once. Out, far from these vacant
isles, in the village where I was born.
There, the monsoon comes thick and
fast, like a howling banshee unbound
by grief. For all we are, the mon-
soon does not care. It is beautiful in
its own way. From my low vantage
point, I remember watching a twist-
ing pine fall with a crash, snapping
nearly in two, and the oxcarts get
swept away. It is a mercy that the
house was not torn from its shallow

This was not as bad. But it was
similar. The same banshee making
her sorry way across the world. And
there, rising, is the brook. I slide the
blind back down and begin to get
ready. As I unlock the door, my moth-
er cranes her neck from the living
room. She does not say anything.

Outside, the rain is cold. I was never
built for the cold. It fills me with in-
comprehensible dread. The coat I am
wearing is already sloughing off the
water in great droves as I walk down
to the edge of the tarmac, where the 
grass begins. I edge closer until there
is the same furrowing ditch of weeds
that I regarded with such fear. They
are matted with rain, forming a dense
weave of sodden brush. Above, the
trees rattle their warnings at me. The
brook is fast and full now, coursing,
riverrun, all the way to the sea. Its
dirty grey colour is all windswept
blues, deep and dark.

It courses with all the fury of some
seething desire, blistering its way
through the land. I can see the
bridge, down the way. It is overcome
by the water, its fragile life immi-
nently threatened. I step even closer,
settling my feet on the slick greenery.
This was a patented mistake. My
precious earth gives way, leaving me
to lose my already tender footing.
I scramble for a moment, trying to
twist backwards, but to no avail. My
fate is already sealed.


I slip clumsily and tumble uncere-moniously into the water. It wouldhave been all right if I had just fallen.Instead, my body contorts into itself,and I near spin into the water, fallingonto all fours. I cannot breathe. Iquickly scramble up, aware that myhead is now underwater. I gasp hard,my eyes wide and red. I expect thebrook, like the great monsoon ofyore, to tear me asunder as I struggleto right myself, a final stutteringpunishment for the sinner. I let loosea great cry, howling for my life- soquickly taken from me- as I fear themight of aqueous fury that is boundto be wrought upon my miserablehead.

Nothing of the sort happens, of
course. The water only comes up so
high, after all. I blink in realisation
and stand up to my full height. It
pushes, yes, gently against my legs,
as they sway to and fro in the flow.
My mother opens the door and looks
over at me.
“Are you all right?” she shouts, look-
ing bemused. I smile back.
“Just slipped. Back inside in a mo’,
sorry.” I reply, and she shakes her
head. She leaves me, standing silent-
ly, as the door closes behind her.

I look down the length of the brook,
freezing as the water clings to my
skin. Your ashes are meant to be
left in a holy river, my father would
say. That’s the way things were
always done. Because what are we
but specks of dirt in the face of the
tender streams of the stoic Hima-
layan mountains? The river there is
beautifully clean. It melts from sweet
snow, untouched for millennia, gently
sloping down mountains that were
once the pitiful seats of errant gods.
My father would recline in his chair-
the television remote in his hand like
a conch shell, the packet of nuts in
the other his mighty weapon- and
say that only then could a soul hope
to be reborn.

Maybe, when at some indeterminate
time I die, and I am nothing else but
cold, grey ashes, I would like to be
scattered here, in this dirty, grey scar.
Maybe then, it would swell as it does
now, and even higher, sweeping the
trees, the weeds, these sorry houses,
and the vapid tarmac away, leaving
nothing but the fish who would final-
ly return to be caught by quiet old
men who would rather be here than
spending time with their families.
And maybe I would become a small
fish, swimming under the fast-flow-
ing currents, eyes beady and bright.
Or, even better, I might become a
thin, wispy raincloud, holding up
thousands of lives in my palm, ready
to let them fall to the earth, now far
removed from the dusty tracks of a
more sedentary life

About the theme

Rewilding is about crossing boundaries; taking up space; gilding the cracks with a kintsugi of weeds. It is about reclamation: the process of growing up within, then through and over, the fences of hierarchy, politics, patriarchy we have inherited. Taking over.  


In a world increasingly organised by technology; bodies censored by trends and politics; minds regulated by pills and therapy in order to function within a system that is psychologically drowning us, this issue is about bearing ourselves; stripping back to the seed of who we are- bare bones gleaming like teeth- and flooding it with light. This is going to be a rich and excessive issue: unbutton your jeans; spill a bottle of your darkest wine directly into your mouth. We are growing/spilling over the boundaries; revealing who we are in the jungle of privacy; showing our animal selves to the world. 


Give us the self-described ‘too much’; the work that ‘doesn’t fit’ in other journals: the experimental, hybrid, non-binary/cross-genre pieces you have been afraid to make/show. 


Rewilding may comprise of: environmental justice; defunding the police; demanding bodily autonomy from society and the law; abolishing unjust legal systems; dismantling The Masters House, and growing vines through its derelict roof. It may involve personal growth: therapy; motherhood; illness; abandon. See our Instagram ‘Editors Inspiration’ posts, or visit our blog for further inspiration.

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