The Four Margins: Beside, Between, Behind, Beneath

Wildness flourishes on the edge and in the margins. Those places where secret things can incubate and grow. Natures loves the marginalized, and the hard-to-find.

The city provides an excellent example of this. Where do you find wildlife in the city?

You find them Beside things (Crows at a food kiosk)…

Behind things (wildflowers and weeds in an abandoned lot)…

Between things (rats in an alley, mice in the wall)…

Beneath things (opossums sleeping under a shed).

Where the margins live, life itself lives. The more margins, and edges, the more places that connect two places together (the white space between letters and words brings them to life), the more abundance and life.

Of course more margins exist, too, but in a sense, they simply vary the ones already mentioned. “Above”, for example, just describes something between earth and sky. I can think of one exception to this though, one margin that I haven’t mentioned…

Once, as a boy in my ninth year, I played a game of hide-and-seek with my friends. I chose a hiding spot behind (a nice dependable margin to choose) an armchair, pressed up against some curtains. The seeker easily discovered the spot, and as he approached, I squeezed my eyes shut as tightly as I could, and wished myself somewhere else.

After looking behind the armchair, the seeker passed on, without saying a word.

At the end of the game, I had to ask him, why didn’t he call me out? Why didn’t he say he’d found me?

‘What do you mean?” he said. “Where did you hide?”.

If I have to explain to you the profound sense of justice and fairness certain boyhood friends have, in not giving special favors or lying to their trusted inner circle when a good game lays on the line, then you may never understand what this incident meant to me.

It meant I had found the fifth margin.

I had gone Beyond.

Written by Willem