Reminiscing through a journal I kept on a lemur behavioral research job in Madagascar, an entry I wrote during a rest from navigating through the dense rainforest brought it all back…the smell, the sights and sounds of the jungle…the feeling of awe that never went away…
“9:03 am (in wildlife behavioral studies, everything is to the minute – if not to the second)
Being out here in the rainforest is just miraculous! I’m engulfed in dense forest…surrounded by wildlife. It’s absolute heaven on earth. Sounds are coming from everywhere, from all species of all sizes. Things are scuttling around and across me right now.
Life is everywhere here!
A local named Manjakanony is teaching me the names of everything, and showing me how to walk in the forest – where to step or not step, especially on dangerous, wet, muddy precipices. And he would know; the locals are all barefoot, even here in the jungle.
How they do it, I do not know!
In bare feet, they glide as if floating over all the brambles, stumps and protruding roots while I, in my ridiculously new hiking boots, stumble over everything because I need to watch where I step but keep forgetting to look down because I can’t stop gaping at everything around me.
Wildlife is everywhere – from high in the canopy to right at my feet on the forest floor. Lemurs are swinging overhead, landing on branches right in front me, staring me down as if I’m the research subject instead of the other way around.