Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rain in the Rainforest

Dolphin, that's how I would come back in another life. The unbounded sea, the energy, the intelligence, the stories of dolphins arcing across the divide between animal and man, between ocean and earth. Life in water. You can tell that we yearn for a water world even as we make our way on dry land. Why else rush to the beaches every weekend. Yes, we island people, we crave sunshine, but cannot live without rain.

Hummingbird continues to feed in the rain
So why are we never prepared for rain in the rainforest? If we don't wanna get wet, we always ought to walk with a plastic poncho in the pocket, swimsuit as underwear. Or just not fuss so much when the water hits us in the face, runs down the back, drips in the shoes. Remember the child in the window watching wistfully and wishing to dance in the rain. Why not? In a tropical rainstorm, the soaking takes ten seconds. In the first minute, the raindrops bounce off the earth. Then, you see the runnels coursing downhill pushing tiny stones. Soon the track is a slick and moving sheet concealing ruts and rocks and roots. If you're not careful, you'll be on your back with one misstep.

The water is falling straight down. Through the tall tree canopy, leaves sloped just so tip down. No birds dance in the manakin lek - the male bird bar as described by the trail guide. In the distance, the bellbird bongs once or twice and falls silent. Not even a bachac stirs - the portals on the side of their giant mound are unshuttered but too small to catch much rain. How cosy they must be deep in the halls of the nest munching on the floral leaf litter, cool, quiescent not tempted to run in water.

Only we, creatures born of water, who conquered solid ground walking upright and with opposable thumbs having made all habitats our home, are completely at home in no one. How do we unlearn inflexibility, reverse rigidity and come home to where we are not alone. Revisit the rainforest. Relearn the relationship with trees and birds and wild creatures. Get ready to be rained upon.

(To have a rain adventure at the Asa Wright Nature Centre and Lodge in the Trinidad rainforest, call 868-667-4655)

At Asa Wright in the heart of the highland rainforest.
we venture from the sheltered verandah

The guide warns that if it rains too hard we will return to the house
 to avoid the danger of falling branches, waterlogged paths


Paper wasps build their nests on the underside of large leaves

Mango tree and strangler fig: long-standing relationship even beyond death ...

Hawaiian torch

"Wood ears" - mushroom living off the dying tree 

Grand entrances to the bachac kingdom,
with one queen and citizenry that are entirely female


Rain "walking" across the Arima valley

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