Saturday, July 09, 2005

From the Guyana project

I was beginning to feel the excellent health of jungle life. Providing one keeps free of malaria and dysentery (there is no need, in Guiana, to boil drinking water except near settlements), no more healthy, even invigorating climate exists than that of the South American rain forest.

-- From Nicholas Guppy's Wai-Wai, p. 137

The depression of the forest was heavy on me--the sheer untidiness and volume of twigs, leaves, and bark that surrounded and pressed upon me, the flickering half darkness, the wetness, the spider-webs that enwrapped my face, the nameless countless insects that crawled and bit, the sweat, the branches plucking at clothes and hair....

-- Ibid., p. 282

I remembered my last return from an expedition. It had taken me days to recover. My movements, used to the outdoors, had been disproportionately strong--I had blundered about in rooms; I had been rough and domineering, so accustomed had I grown to forcing my way against unwillingness. I had been a formidable creature for a civilised person to encounter. Then gradually the forest ways, the things that had seemed important, the strange ideas that loneliness and silence had bred, had faded away--but never completely. Something had happened. One was made isolated, fierce inside. One would bear the mark throughout one's life.

-- Ibid., p. 349

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