24 February 2009

In Country: Amazonia Melancholia

After spending nearly 24 hours via taxi, bus, and plane traveling from the jungle back to civilization, we have arrived in Campinas for rejuvenation. In short, the Amazon took a lot out of us and we are just recovering.

As hard as it was on us physically, Amazonia is remarkably appealing. There are layers to the region: it is both water and land, hard realities and lofty spirits, people and nature. Having been there for about two weeks I can declare that I am in love with Amazonia. Its river and rainforest, its people and problems.

Amazonia is neither romanticized Eden nor metaphorized Hell. Amazonia is.

Beyond any label, out of reach of every mental compartment. Amazonia is.

Larger than national boundaries and before words validated history, when rocks were the pen and the canvas upon which the story of human experience was recorded, Amazonia was and is and will be.

It is like a person who is hard to make friends with, closed and barricaded from emotion. Amazonia will let you in but you must come on its terms. You must conform. It is unforgiving. Yet if you persevere, the friendship will be rewarding because great beauty can be found there.

Although Amazonia is very old, it is always renewing itself. This makes it seem young and tempting, like a woman with a new lover. Humans may pollute the downstream channels but the headwaters -- high up in the Andes -- continually pour out new, clean waters which flow down any of its 1100 tributaries. Amazonia knows how to rejuvenate itself without leaving itself.

I, on the other hand, do not. Hence I had to depart and now, separated from my new love, I have Amazonia Melancholia.

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