Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Posted by Bejat

As the days pass and the river rises, we wonder if we will soon be on a little island as we were in 2004. We could not make it over a 100 meters outside of camp without swimming. The trails are flooded, but not like in the summer of 2004, or at least not yet. I have been venturing out the last several days to paint and photograph all the amazing life here in the rainforest. Yesterday I noticed the Cactaceae I am so enamored with, Disocactus sp., is on the verge of blooming, yet again! I am ready and I have three chances since it has three buds at various stages of development. The last time I did not get the opportunity, so this just proves that all good things come to those who wait. The orchids in the Orchid Garden are blooming profusely and the diversity is simply amazing. I have been on a drawing, painting and photo frenzy.

I must admit I have taken somewhere around 7,000 photos thus far and if I keep this up I am going to have my cameras and hard drives pluming with smoke. That sounds about right. I love it and plan on it, that’s why there’s always the backup.

Fortune is where you find it and I found it today in the rain. I call it a natural style car wash. I took the nasty tent, which bromeliads have been torn apart inside of leaking all sorts of stinky water, the bromeliad poncho and work poncho and set them out in the heavy rain to be washed. Now I do not have to scrub them, nor do I have to worry about wasting water. Excellent.

Today it rained for a large portion of the day, so Shawn and I spent most of the day catching up on all our office busy work. Shawn’s new assistant, Travis, spent most of his time in the Puma Plot avoiding the rain by standing under dense foliage. He was working the gps and received excellent signals resulting in sub-meter accuracy. The Harpia plot should be done in about one more week.

The Harpia plot was excellent the other day for tracking Tapir. One large Tapir spent most of her day walking circles around me as I painted. I would get up and follow her only to find myself walking in circles around my gear I left behind. I returned to find the most unusual dung beetle that was rather small, long and slender. Still covered in feces, it proceeded to swim in my paint water and dive head first into my paint palette,

The small brilliant leaf hopper I studied today was also fascinating. It was brilliantly colored with fuscia and cerelean blue. I thought it was so truly amazing, like a small little jewel glowing as if it were a neon sign, He was only a few millimeters long. This little guy appeared to have a symbiotic relationship with the ants on a small liana. Every so often if the ants did not come by to collect the clear liquid excreted from his hind end he would shoot it out over his head with much force. The first time he did this I was observing his quite closely and I nearly got it in the face. What a terrific little insect.

My love for the rainforest is a deep passion. It is in my thoughts always and I have so much to say through my art that there is not nearly enough time in the day or my lifetime even to paint about all the aspects I observe and learn from books, magazines and researchers. My interaction with researchers provides me with first hand knowledge that supports my conceptual work. My intention is to take this forest to every person in some form or fashion if they are unable to make it here themselves, so they can see the beauty, importance and mysticism for themselves.

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