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Rhiannon Wood - Editor in Chief

Summer is here in all its heat-fuelled glory (at least on this side of the globe; apologies to all those going into winter, but bear in mind that your winters still mostly beat our summers!). I am not usually a fan of heat. I’m never a fan of sweat. I’m more a fan of, well, a fan. Or a nice cool breeze. Fortunately, now I live by the river, water and breezes are easy to come by, which I don’t mind at all. Us forest dwellers need shade and limited sunlight to survive, after all!

Anyway, enough of my summer-based woes – let’s take a tour around this hothouse of an issue! We have been hiking in unknown territory and meeting goddesses pretending to be trees. It’s been so hot we have melted into the pavement, dripping like ice cream on a summer day. We have been reborn through ecstasy and waded through blue-tainted memory. The solid walls around us have witnessed our loves and losses. We have travelled through the weather – desert-hot and alien-cold. We have been embroiled in bees, inside and out. My mind will never be the same again. 

This issue’s stories have filled me with joy; they are all so complex, thought-provoking and unlike anything I have seen written or published anywhere else. With pride month in full swing as I type this, I am proud to be a part of this forest. Where else would all these beautiful, soul-exploring, vibrant birds hang out? And I wouldn’t want them anywhere else. I’m selfish like that. I want them all in this forest, dancing, prancing and dripping around me. I look at the world, which is trying its absolute hardest to break us every day, all the time, and I try to look for joy wherever I can find it. Not the toxic self-help positivity that claws at your self-esteem and hollows you out, but the simple joys. Human contact. A smile. A shared understanding. Learning and sharing something new. Or just a really good iced latte. As I was writing this, I heard a rustling outside and looked out to see a doe deer having a munch on the greenery outside my window. Joy speaks to us; we must listen even when it’s just a whisper and take it when and wherever we can.

 The other day, I was reading a Matt Haig book about a man who has lived for hundreds of years and all the things he sees, all the things that stay the same, and all the things that change. And it made me think about how, no matter what era we live in, we always think it’s the end of the world, we’re always hell-bent on terrifying ourselves with disastrous decisions. But you know what else is a constant? Kindness. It is out there; I promise you it does exist. As much as I read the rage in the words of the media and social media, the fight, the fury against the oncoming storm, I also read hope, humour, laughter and joy. They are all in there too. 

In this forest, with the solstice just gone and the full moon approaching, we should all join wings and dance, fly, hop, slither – whatever you want! You see, kindness, love and acceptance are at the core of the rage. The basic human need to be loved, to be seen and to be treated as equals is what drives that rage. Remember that as you step into our forest: look for the passion, the heat and the sun. They’re there, and we can all bask in them together.

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