A b i g a i l   M .

15 March 1998
Amazon River - Yacumama Lodge

“Here, where I am surrounded by an enormous landscape, which the winds blow across as they come from the seas, here I feel that there is no one anywhere who can answer for you those questions and feelings which, in their depths, have a life of their own... but even so, I think that you will not have to remain without a solution if you trust in things that are like the ones my eyes are now resting upon. If you trust in Nature, in what is simple in Nature, in the small Things that hardly anyone sees and that can so suddenly become huge, immeasurable; if you have this love for what is humble and try simply, very simply, as someone who serves, to win the confidence of what seems poor: then everything will become clearer to you, more coherent and somehow more reconciling, not in your concious mind perhaps, which stays behind, astonished, but in your innermost awareness, awakeness and knowledge.“

Rainer Maria Rilke 8:46am
I am on the Amazon River. The breeze that is whisked up by the wind on the river is both refreshing and wonderful, and the air is fresh and unpolluted, filling me with a sensation that is both invigorating and comforting. A power exists here, in this place, which both mystifies and awes me. Many tiny huts spring upon the shore as we pass, and kingfishers are common. Off in the distance, the rainforest can be seen.

We are floating through the rainforest now. At a distance, it was easy to identify the different strata of the forest, but now it is all mixed together and the importance of differentiating between the understory and the canopy seems trivial compared to enjoying the beauty of this place. Our extroverted group appears to have been taken in by the power of the forest, and as I look about me, I see a serenity which is unlike our usual ways. We are content, happy, and at peace. This truly is an amazing place.


It has started to rain, very lightly, and the mist it creates shrouds us in a curtain of certain beauty, enveloping us in warmth and comfort. I don’t think I could be any more content, and I cannot readily recall a time when I was more at peace than at this moment.

16 March 1998
Yacumama Lodge, Rio Yarapa, Peru

This morning we woke at 5:30am, piled into a boat, and sailed up the Yarapa River. The mornings here are exquisite, I have learned. I was astounded last night at the music of the forest. It has a sweet symphony of its very own, which plays all night, creating in itself a beauty which can only be heard and felt, leaving everything else to the mind’s imagination. It sang me to sleep last night, and woke me this morning. The sounds of the river are extraordinary as well. The mist that created a veil around us was incredibly thick, and all around were the noises and cries of monkeys, frogs, and nearly 15 species of birds. I could not have imagined a more invigorating start to our day.

What a fantastic day! Today we explored the canopy tower, searching for local species, taking the air and sights, writing up rapid assessments, and, the most exciting of all, we zip-lined! From the top of the tower, 115 feet off the ground, we zip-lined to a remote access platform, 90 feet off the ground. A challenge of mind, body, spirit and fear—I have never before felt more accomplished and proud than I do at this moment. I feel different somehow, changed in a way that is both subtle and shocking to myself. Each day here provides something exciting and new, a new perspective on my very own life. The power of the rainforest has yet again presented itself.

18 March 1998
Puerto Miguel, Peru

I cannot write my feelings for I am so overcome with emotion that my pencil and my writing cannot express it at this moment. Only facts: we traded; we bought—from people who knew only their village, who were poor, who were sick. Children went to a school that was a room, and no one knew their poverty.

—Abigail M.

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