ginger trail

below Vera Plaine, old logging and oil production roads provide access through forests. Often the new growth of herbs, shrubs, and young trees provides food and cover for wildlife.

Its been raining for most of the morning.  The forest is silent, other than the arrhythmic tuk-tik-tik of raindrops gathering on high branches, dropping like drumbeats through the understory to light the forest floor with shattered fragments of sky.

A monkey creeps silently along a high, bare limb fronting the savanna, perhaps scanning for predators.  She does a little scratching behind her ears, sending a shower of water stuttering down through lianas and leaves, then abruptly she is gone, back into the wall of green bursting out from a swollen forest.

A pair of bul-buls dart through the undergrowth, their chortling “quick-quick-doctor-quick” magnified in the surrounding silence of post-rain dreaminess, chased by the staccato splut of raindrops that scatter below their perch.

And always in the forest canopy, the African emerald cuckoo, jewel-like, its three-tone whistle clear and crystalline, stirs the forest like a fresh breeze.

The intoxicating lush of vegetation steams with the aroma of green and mineral-earth and wetness.  A peppery fragrance of ginger laces the air where some animal has crossed the trail, leaving cracked stems of the wild herb in its wake.  Crickets peer out from beneath soggy leaf litter, a few tentative chirps tease into the rising humidity.  My footsteps are muffled in the saturated landscape, and I feel as though I am being watched by countless eyes hiding silently behind every leaf.

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