Monday, July 5, 2010

The jungle

I took a stroll through the forest today, looking for recently fallen trees. Since Cephalotes tend to like being way up high in the tips of branches, sometimes it's easier to let the tree come to you. 

There's a sort of numbness I feel sometimes when I'm traveling. Maybe it's tiredness, maybe it's loneliness, maybe it's my brain's relentless return to serotonin equilibrium; whatever it is, when it sets in, everything starts feeling just sort of normal. Hundreds of bugbites? Normal. Giant inch and a half long ants with the most painful sting in the natural world? Fact of life. Spiders bigger than my palm crawling around the bathroom floor? Abjectly terrifying, yes, but nothing to write home about (as it were). 

That's about how I was feeling when I set off into the forest this afternoon. 

This mood lasted about five hundred yards, at which point there were monkeys. 

Monkeys. As in, vaguely human-looking mammals with prehensile tails and goofy foot thumbs. Monkeys, like they have in cartoons and nature documentaries, hanging out in trees and making chirpy ook noises. A dozen or so monkeys, in two flavors, watching me watching them. 

Quite suddenly, the realization worked its way through my heat-addled brain that I was looking at actual monkeys and that made sense because I was IN THE FREAKING JUNGLE. The rest of my walk was a wonder -- the rainforest is life overstimulated. It's absolutely incredible to be here, walking through a few square miles of forest that's home to more amphibian species than you'll find in all of the USA. And parrots. And anacondas. And monkeys. I spent the rest of my walk in varying degrees of distraction.

Then I came back to camp and did my laundry. 


And for visual illustration, here's another Pachycondyla glamour shot. I told you they were badass. 

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