Two flashes of lightening, I am subconsciously counting the seconds…until a loud clap of thunder rolls through the clouds above. With all this I am still unsure if it is going to rain. I teeter between packing up my gear to sprint to the nearest shelter or try to wait it out. If the rain does come I will only have seconds to get to shelter before it hits hard.
I stand. I wait. I listen. All of a sudden I hear the Howler monkeys scream their loud whooping calls as they protest the impending rain. Then I know it’s about to rain and hard. I scramble to pack up my equipment and samples and after a minute I am drenched. This is life in the rainforest.
I have been here for a little over two months and I am finally starting to understand the voice of the jungle. When I first arrived it was overwhelming, so much so, that I felt I couldn’t hear or see anything even though with every step I took I passed dozens of species. It’s like getting to know a new friend, you learn how to read them. Read the cues of their behavior and read their moods. This rainforest is definitely a moody one. The weather is capricious, especially as we enter December. One minute the rain will be pouring down so hard you have to shout over it and then, all of a sudden, the sun will break through, hot and strong. The water will immediately start evaporating and you can see the steam rising from the ground all around you. While this can make field work challenging it also makes this place surreal and magical.