it’s a long story, I’ve already told you that. if I were to tell it to you, you wouldn’t believe a word. no one ever believes everything. you know?
it is never, ever possible to hear everything…what do you hear? it’s not only all those animals you have seen, and all those you haven’t seen, and all those no one will ever see, making sounds. and that which isn’t possible to hear, the song of the fish that once cheered the waters, though now they no longer know how to sing. and if they still sing, they do it, most certainly, with no sound. with notes our ears are not able to hear. silently they sing, on another plane…
within our very being there sound the memories of all that we have heard throughout our lives, dances and flutes and promises and lies and fears and confessions and the cries of war and the murmurs of love. the voices of the dying that one has been or that one has merely heard. true stories.
memory is more, it’s much more, do you see? true memory conserves all that is to come. and even that which will never come, that is also conserved. imagine. just imagine. who could possibly hear it all, tell me that?
who could possibly hear it all, all at once, and believe it?
living in the rainforest for three weeks is a very interesting thing. not only because of the reasons you hear about in the “most extreme tropical adventures gone wrong!” sort of tv shows [examples: nearly being attacked by giant conga ants, tarantulas with a leg span of approximately twelve inches, cryptic snakes with deadly venom and a nasty temper, or the possibility of contracting various afflictions ala yellow fever, malaria, lechmeniesis (that is spelled incorrectly: it is a flesh eating protozoan) or a botfly which could one day burst out from under your skin after months of chewing miniscule parts of your muscle away.]
not only because of los monos. (monkeys). they clamber through trees, swinging from their prehensile tails and plucking fruits from nearly unreachable branches. they stare down through the canopy at their binoculared fascinated cousins, their curious black eyes illuminated against the darkness of the tree shadow. woollys will stick around for a while if you’re quiet, because they are calmer, mas tranquilo, than the rest. if you listen closely you can hear the howling of los aulladores (the howlers) which resembles the growling of the stealthy jaguars in the distance. squirrel monkeys are more likely to jump over your head, carrying babies on their backs and squeaking their annoyance at your presence. they are curious too, but a bit more skiddish than the larger species, probably because they know not everyone is a friendly presence in their trees. the tiny ones, like the pygmy marmosets and the golden mantled tamarins are a rarity, but if you can see them amidst their vine tangles, their little faces will make your day.
spending so much time in the rainforest is interesting not only because of the charismatic megafauna, although they are definitely a highlight. along the river banks, you can see capybara, the world’s largest rodent, bounding their round not-so-little butts back into the cover of the forest. there are birds of every color, and every combination as well, like the scarlet macaw and the paradise tanager, and even the ancient hoatzin, which resembles (especially when still young) the archaeopteryx from eons ago. there are oropendolas, who send out sounds more similar to the dripping of water in a cave than to that of the orioles they are related to. there is the cacique, capable of mimicking everything from a parrot’s harsh crackle to the grumble of a riverboat engine. and there is the laughing falcon, who, along with the cackling witch toad, haunts the early morning hours with its eerie laughing call. there is the tapir, happy as can be, trundling along the bank and searching out leaves with its elephantine proboscis. the otters, swimming and playing graceful along the banks.
you couldn’t be more wrong darling you misunderstood no meaning I’m not falling for this one if love is surrender then who then who’s war is it anyway? do just what I tell you and no one will get hurt don’t come any closer I still don’t know how long I can hold my heart in two just look at the state of you babe you’re not listening to this and just for once could you let me let me finish a sentence if you know what’s good for me why would I be loving you now I’ve had it up to here don’t ever try that again why are you so quiet so suddenly go on a bit, you’re just dying to try me
living in the rainforest for three weeks is a very interesting thing because of the way it brings out the truth in people. being sweaty and dirty and covered in mosquito bites all day long is taxing, but a necessary evil in order to enjoy all of the pleasures of the jungle. but when living with other people who you don’t know all that well, who don’t know your insecurities and obscurities and eccentricities, it is difficult not to become exhausted of human presence. It’s eye opening, really, to discover so much about yourself that you adore, but that seems to rub others the wrong way.
I ask questions. sometimes they’re not very easy to answer, and sometimes they seem random and out of place. I have a tendency to ramble, and digress, and go off on tangents that are not central to the main idea. But I don’t talk much when I don’t find it important, when I don’t have something to say, so I’m not very good at relieving uneasy or awkward silence. I need time to myself to digest, but I hate being left out (this may be paradoxical. I am paradoxical.) I love discussions, especially about uneasy things, like indigenous acculturation, and the way western conservation idealism often comes into conflict with the conserved. I could argue for hours. I’d rather talk about books and the end of the world than anything else, but I could also go on and on about my favorite movies, and even quote some of the best lines. I like to watch movies that will make me cry, too.
I’m not particularly funny, but I find just about everyone else absolutely hilarious. I sing to myself, even when other people are around. Sometimes this appears to become excessive to others, but I never get sick of it, and I find it difficult to stop, even when I know someone is about to hit me over the head with their binoculars. I could spend my life on the water, and I would never regret it. Any kind really, but preferably large, and close to a sunny beach, where I can wile away the older hours of the day and watch time pass. I am indecisive. Consequently, I never really know what I want the most, although I have plenty of glaringly obvious ideas about what I don’t want. I can’t choose between many things, and would gladly take them all in stride. I am always happier when I have fruit, or coffee and some sort of dessert. Like cake. Or chocolate pudding. Listening to music while in the rainforest isn’t ignoring the natural sounds of the world. It’s creating a soundtrack. I could tell you all about my soundtracks.
living in the rainforest for three weeks is a very interesting thing because of what you miss while you’re away. the world seems to have disappeared without communication, without newspapers and the internet, and television shows blabbering on about the collapse of modern society (they never say that, but that’s what it is). and then we came flying back over the andes while reading headlines about: the impending attack on iran, and britney spears and her mental breakdown extravaganza. how is this what the world has come to? that headlines like that serve to garner equal attention? and that an attack on iran is actually feasible? really now. did we learn nothing the second time around in iraq? no, I suppose we didn’t. if the world blows up, I won’t be surprised. humanity is asking for it, if you want my opinion.
and all I am is holding back can’t you hear I’m not myself well go ahead and lie to me you could say anything small talk will be just fine your voice is everything and it all depends on you I refuse to believe that’s it only me I’m a slow motion accident lost in coffee rings and fingerprints
(I hate generalizing like that, because there are so many people that could be encompassed under ‘humanity’ that do not deserve to be incinerated, or that are doing their utmost to change the parody of a paradigm our international community has developed about “first” and “third” world interactions. there are plenty of people who recognize the hypocrisy of our policies, and are yelling. hollering. like the howler monkeys. [who are disappearing, by the way.] people like my profs. joe and catherine. you should all meet them someday. and mayor. my seventy year old ecuadorian pseudo-grandfather, who used to be a hunter, but now wanders around the jungle showing monos to hapless tourists without a clue about the ecosystem he understands better than anyone. these people are not asking for “it”.
but you! you who contribute to the continued deforestation in brasil, and indonesia, and the congo. you who contribute ignorantly I should say, because everyone contributes to this, as much as I hate to admit it. unless you live on a desert island and the only products you have consumed in the last fifteen years are your own tattered, dirty clothes, you are included as well. even conservationists use petroleum to get where they’re going. we should all listen to tommy the firefighter in “i heart huckabees”. the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I don’t even believe in hell, and I understand the sentiment of that sentence.
you! you who encourage the pet trade. you are included. monkeys and parrots and snakes should never be found outside of the their original habitats. you may not notice how lonely those amazons are when they sit on their perches, preening their feathers absentmindedly, or how terribly sad the capuchin babies are as they leap from hotel tree to hotel tree, waiting for a cast-off french fry, and being greeted instead by a skinny man with a scar above one eye and stick in his left hand. the toucans are the worst, because they hop along the ground, their flight feathers clipped, clacking their bills together in the air and staring at the walls. you may not notice how horrible all of this is because you haven’t seen these creatures in the wild. but I have. I’ve seen them. they are not supposed to be like that! they are supposed to be sitting in cecropia trees, and eating grasshoppers, and flying over the canopy under the sun. ) that was my ranting tangent.
I wish I knew how it would feel to be free I wish I could break all these chains holding me I wish I could fly like the birds in the sky I wish I could be all things that I could be then you’d see and agree everyone should be free
soundtrack for my rainforest serenade.
acetate prophets & lesson 6: jurassic 5
variation #2 on canon in d major: unknown
(this is) the dream of evan and chan: dntel
nature boy: david bowie
eleanor rigby: the beatles
i wish i knew how (it would feel to be free): nina simone
don’t come any closer: frou frou
gravel: ani difranco
lean on me: bill withers
track 9 from (black woman and child): sizzla
hoping for a miracle: bloc party
a distorted reality, pt II: elliott smith
whose blood is this?: unknown
ziggy stardust: seu jorge
the smoke too thick to breathe the tile floors glistened I slowly stirred my drink and when you started to sing you spoke with broken speech that I could not understand and then you grabbed me tightly I WON’T LET GO I WON’T LET GO even if you say so, oh no I’ve tried and tried with no results I won’t let go I won’t let go he then played every song from 1993 the crowd applauded and he curtsied bashfully your eyelashes tickled my neck with every nervous blink and it was perfect until the telephone started ringing ringing ringing ringing ringing off…
favorites: people with smiley eyes. the curly haired ecuadorian hippie and the old man in the canadian hat who lead native americans through the jungle. parahuaco, especially la playa of the tapir, the valley of socrates, and the log bridge. ceiba trees. tang (not really, but it became sort of traditional). real coffee. choclo, burrito night, and the biggest pizza slices in the world. olvidio and his hysterical laughter. monsanita. the monsanita vs. lucho debate (the only reason to choose lucho is because the name comes from louis armstrong, a trumpeter just like monsanita…or is it lucho?) watching the life aquatic with steve zissou in the station’s library, eating popcorn and reveling in the humor of pseudo-biologists gone crazy over jaguar sharks. reading to educate myself, but not forcibly (confessions of an economic hitman and song for a blue ocean). spit. egyptian rat screw. adventurous walks in the nighttime through vine tangles and leafcutter pass to the tower, and sleeping surrounded by the sounds of the canopy. sunrise with macaws, and woollys. banana pancakes with peanut butter. reese’s. raisins. bracelets made of chambira (palm) leaves. the matapalo. brown eyes. otters on the bank, and saving turtles by the trees. tortoise sex. trying to count painted conga ants (not). russian roulette over insect orders. meditating in the dark. heliconia, bauhinia, capirona, and duroia. reading genius indigenous literature (latin american literature in general). reminiscing on the chaotic events of last summer, and last semester. seeing the andes above the clouds. the huaorani in the dugout. debates. caciques and their mimicry. plotting paintings and epic memoirs and trying to decide what to do with my life this summer. wanting to ride on a fishing boat back to the west coast of the us and hitchhike/bus through the country back to wisconsin. my person.
put a dollar into the machine and you’ll remember when say the money just ain’t what it used to be man how we used to tear apart this town put a dollar into the machine and you’ll remember how