And then come the sounds. I will apologize now for my inability to properly capture and describe the amazing sounds of the jungle; I hazard there are few authors who can. But suffice it to say, the jungle is absolutely saturated with sounds! Rivaling any urban city in both volume and relentlessness, the jungle is a cacophony of every manner of chirp, cheep, whistle, peep, croak, cry, caw, howl, rustle, crunch, crash, buzz and growl; noises you’ve never heard before and most “virgin jungle ears” grapple to make sense of.
There are birds that sound like monkeys and monkeys that sound like birds, there are the crashing of palm leaves falling down through the canopy with such violence, you’d swear entire trees were toppling over and at night the ceaseless hum of the cicadas, crickets and frogs can be so impressively loud one can hardly talk over the “white noise” of it all.
The Oropendola, a bird who’s call sounds like a synthesized imitation of a pebble plopped into a pond is one of my favorites. The Screaming Piha (unfairly named in my opinion), has a lovely song that consists of an ascending 3-note scale, terminated by a “cat-call” whistle so perfectly toned, you’d swear it was generated by a human taking a leisurely stroll through the jungle! There is the Toucan’s shrill, but recognizable call and of course, the parrots and macaws who’s “voices” are so comically unrefined in contrast to their gorgeous plumage, you can’t help but wonder if they lost some sort of bet a very long time ago.
I had heard of the resident Howler monkey; a species of primate that lives among the trees in Las Piedras and portions of land beyond, but no one had prepared me for their sound. Its an eerie, disturbing, haunting, long-winded wail that ends in a guttural “whoo, whoo, whoo” and has the power to echo for miles through the jungle. That first morning, waking up to this forlorn howl, I recall being totally confused. Sounding more akin to wind being forced through poorly installed weather stripping during a storm, the noise was so creepy, so utterly foreign it seemed impossible that it could be created by an animal. But each morning the howl of this monkey resonated through the trees like clockwork. Oddly out of place and yet not. Crazy things are alive in the jungle, imbedded deep within the wilds of this place there are species we've even yet to discover. The Howler Monkey is merely one of the residents.
So many new discoveries, so many amazing adventures and pages upon pages of journal entries to describe. But it will have to wait. Tomorrow, I head back into the jungle. Again, I will again endure the bumpy, iron-red dust road to Lucerna, river ride and haul up the hill to get there. Once more I will join my team and continue my work there and I’ll be smiling the entire way.
Turns out, I miss my Howler alarm clock.
*as noted in my previous blog; turns out "directly typing into one's blog from an iPhone" is a massive fail. But, blog I did, post I did. Just a "posted-dated post".