Two days in the Rainforest
A Butterfly dances in the morning sunlight in front of my eyes. She is black and white and she flutters, atop the green vine that hugs the tree trunk. On to the next vine she darts and then up she flies – up and up and away into the canopy.
What is it that the butterfly looks for? For food? Or for friendship? Or just for the wind to aide her in her flight? Her life is a delicate swift dance.
She is born alone in the sunlight. And her death is an event for no one else but her and the day.
That she never knows the joy her flutter brings.
The birds sing to each other in every direction. They are soft then they’re loud. Some pretty and some shrill. Some tweet and some caca. Some sing and some dance.
The Rainbow Lorikeets that light up the sounds of the sunrise always come back for the sunset symphony. To catch up in a flurry of colourful feathers and song. The liveliest of flocks are they.
A small Red Bellied Robin wiggles around on a tall twiggy tree searching and sporting its gaze side to side gracefully, before flying in search of other trees.
A large palm frond hangs suspended horizontally in the air, caught halfway between the sky and the ground, wrapped in the vine that caught its demise.
It floats there.
Three days ago it was brown and sunburnt.
Now it has turned the ethereal white shade of death.
It hangs and gently swings high above the ground. It’s illuminated by midday sun – it beams back at me brightly as the canopy leaves softly whirr way above my head and all around.
I wonder when it fell there. I marvel at the elegance of its landing.
It reminds me of a female body. I imagine her hanging there by the waist facing the sky. Her arms hang down as do her legs, and they dangle underneath her graceful backward arch. she hails the sky with her stomach.
I wonder what will cause her to fall in the end.
As morning wanes sunlight waxes upon the forest floor.
The lunchtime birds are making their conversations heard now.
The sunlight flickers on the path outside as the leaves flutter. The temperature is that of a late tropical morning. The season of a Summer slowly, ever so carefully, yielding to its true Autumn name.
The forest lives and grows on the edge of the tea tree lake – and is framed on the east with the sea. Ocean waves crash on the horizon of the sound, trees sooth the sanctuary birds song. To the west are the mountains and north and south it grows and it stretches so long that to get lost would be no difficult task.
Hours go by. The forest rustles and rumbles. Dry leaves on the ground rattle and roll and feet scurry every now and again. The birds do not stop as the sun makes its way across the midday sky.
All of the trees have their moment in the sun.
A giant lizard scurries to a pile of tree trunks on the ground that are bathed in lemon yellow sunlight. And then another one appears to my surprise. They are stopped, yards apart and so very still.
They look desperate for the rays as they steal away. Neither reptile moves for the longest time. As stone sits so do they. Nowhere else do they seek but that warmth they have run to. A half-hour passes and they are motionless.. even as the shade creeps up their long tails.
So what drives them next, I muse as I study their skin. Do they fear their predator as afternoon falls? Or seek the warmth of their home in their run?
As quick as they came, so too they pass across the forest once more and in search of a new heat.
A three o’clock breeze arrives and sunlight glistens like water on the trunks of the trees in its wake.
And just like that the afternoon choir members have flown in. One whip of a song and a watery wail rolls out with the sweet tweet of a nest high above.
Second upon second of new sonic delight. Yellow butterflies dance on the green grass.
Hours pass by and the sun moves back through the tops of the trees. Bush Turkeys fly in from the canopy and the brush, then they feed on the ground all around. Curious creatures with blood red heads and golden throats. Black feathers flutter as their beaks gobble through the afternoon leaves.
The heat and the rays are falling away slowly, seductively reclining at just the right pace. Drawing it out until its almost too much to bear – and then presto.
Darkness falls and settles swiftly into the places light lived seconds before.
Its quieter now as the frogs begin to stir. Calling each other in piqued tones. Cicadas now too can be heard. A couple of cheeping chaps up high where the suns making its final departure are quieted by a flock coming in.
It’s the Rainbow Lorikeets coming home again to nest and prepare their bellies for nighttime.
Turkeys chase each other on the ground and play atop the bush and the canopy of leaves and ferns. Turkeys walk on the tiles outside my doorstep.
A flock of birds flies overhead again. The sun is relegated to the sky alone and without warning the forest orchestra fires up again.
The cicadas conduct a loud buzz and sweet twitters float in from the deepest parts of this place.
As night settles under a chorus of insects – so too in the day each life finds its place here to become a harmonious all.
Everything thats needed is shared and nothing’s wasted.
It is only the moon to watch over us now, while we wait for the rain of tomorrow to pour.
Today the sky cried for the land. The Clouds wept for the trees. From Day’s break to noon time the heavens screamed above and shrouded the forest with a magical delight.
Hours and hours of a well balanced roar and a brooding rumble.
Everything saturated and clean, all life bowing to the master of this seasonal expression.
I stirred under the sky and watch as the rain takes hold of today.
For a moment it’s hard to remember what heat felt like as the cool is now all I can feel.
That yesterday my skin was drenched in the sunlight, for now it is damp from the rain.
I’m sure it was here though for I’d know it not to be dark now.
If i didn’t really feel the light of yesterday’s memory still alive in my heart.
Eventually the storm rolls on east. Toward the ocean and its beckoning waves, it twists and turns as it waits to be engulfed by the sky.
The ocean watches the forest with envy at its shower and its heavenly gift of life.
So now the rain falls from the trees though not from the clouds anymore. The fastidious rain that fell all day has passed overhead and left a silver sky in its trail of magnificence.
The birds sing again – strangely longer than yesterday’s sunlight sonatas. They sing as though they’ve been waiting for hours and hours and hours. As though the booming silence in the rain had them baited. The clearing sys give way to their sound now.
Baby birds echo on the breeze. The ocean rumbles softly in the distance.
No sight of the land creatures though. Their dances are but shadows of memory atop the leaves of yesterday.
Moments pass and droplets fall each and everywhere. From high and low. Near and far. A settling seems to occur and every so slowly everyone comes out to play. An overwhelming scent of sweet life is in the air. As though tempted from the foliage by the rain and the wet.
Although there aren’t breaks in the silver cloud there are temptations of white sky peeking through.
And so for a moment there is again a feeling of Eden within the walls of this place.
Nothing still and no leaf unturned here, but sweet generations of glorious life.
Here is the true immortality.
Here is where life dies but lives again each day in perfect harmony.
Here is where fear is not.
The forest is the place that courage lives.
That happiness is born and flies free.
That turkeys dance upon the leaves as though no-one is watching.
There is no breeze as the sun sets slowly, but still the leaves sway somehow. The ocean is loud in its recovery now – the rainclouds far passed off the shore at this time.
I wait and the forest doesn’t.
Together we sit.
I am but a guest in its glory, just an observer to its show.
And as night creeps slowly in I feel I must go soon.
As much as the forest changes its mood so shall I change my sight and my place.
Forever in my heart though shall stay these days that have captivated my spirit. Enlivened my mind, and found me falling as the frond, madly in love in its midst.
Words by Rose Ashton.