For the current generation, which has not grown up with a machete in the hand, there are often two types of rainforest. There is the outer jungle where seeing a snake gliding through the bushes is a rare event, and there is the ancient inner forest where there are an innumerable number of poisonous creatures sliding around. In the latter, there is no bush in which there is no wicked little snake that does not emerge suddenly out of invisibility and coil up into a tense «S» in order to spring up noiselessly and swiftly to leave behind two little holes in the throat of the clueless wanderer. Holes from which a laughably small amount of blood oozes out – but those drops of blood are mixed with a colourless fluid that causes the surroundings of the holes to turn white, greyish-white, etc, within seconds.
Such snakes probably also inhabit the bush of the outer forest. We notice how the cries of the birds, and the croaking and chirping of insects and frogs change when we approach them – from which we can conclude that we are being observed with caution. We do not see much because almost all the wildlife in this forest is camouflaged – be it for the animal to hide from attackers, or to enhance the chances of the hunter. The most visible animal here is us. So, we cannot actively prevent danger because we cannot deal with what we do not see. All that we having going for us is the consolation that we do not fit into the larger prey-scheme of the animals here. We must therefore trust in the fact that the animal derives no profit from inflicting a bite in our throat.
A march through the jungle is thus, at first, a migration from the inner jungle to the outer forest. At the beginning, because the situation is not in our control, we feel a deep anxiety at every step about the consequences we might have to face. But with time we begin to repose our trust in the forest and to believe that it will not harm us. That is somewhat like it is with kissing – we trust that the other mouth will not suddenly turn mischievous and begin to bite us. The environment is definitely similarly sultry – so wet that the borders between skin and forest, between us and our environment, is blurred. Such a forest-march is perhaps not so different then from a big French kiss with Planet Earth.
First Publication: 27-6-2013