Skip to main content

A love affair with the rainforest

A love affair with the rainforest

At home, on a typical rainy Sunday afternoon in England, the fun part of the weekend is over and the school week beckons again, bringing waves of anxiety and sadness. In the living room the fire is on, emanating warmth and a reliable but unpredictable crackle that brings calm and leaves no room for chaos. Absorbing the heat, I lie down on the carpet next to it, a pillow under my head, feet crossed. On the tv, an eyewitness video tape is playing, its sweeping introductory sequence and pan flute soundtrack by now a theme tune to my Sunday afternoons. It’s an episode about the jungle, visiting rainforests around the world. It rolls through black and white footage of early explorers discovering strange and untouched places new to western eyes. It weaves a story of the emergence and structure of rainforest, its role on our planet and all of the mysteries it yet beholds. Its tranquil narration is brought to life by the soundtrack of the jungle with macaws squawking and insects droning. I hear strange, alien sounds of creatures I’ve never seen or heard before, what I now know to be gibbons and indri calling.

As I lull there on the floor, I don’t notice that I’m no longer in my living room, I’m travelling around the world, not knowing where I’m going next or what I’m going to see. The mist, the plants, the sounds, the animals, the shades of green. My imagination drifting into a new world I didn’t know existed, like seeing Tolkein’s middle earth for the first time; mythical and exciting. When it is over, I’m left wanting to be there again. Where it is so loud and enchanting that everything else around me goes quiet.

It was some 20 years later that I went into a rainforest for the first time. At that time I still had that feeling of yearning to be there, but I had let it go dormant for so long. With the world in the state that it was and the stories of dwindling biodiversity, I had quiet doubts on what I was going to find. But as soon as I got there, they disappeared and everything I imagined was realised. It was Costa Rica in 2021. On my first day I canoed through a world where the forest rose from the river right into an amphitheatre of life. Like a theme park of wildlife I paddled amongst a staggering array of animals and plants. Squirrel monkeys scampering overhead. Caiman lying half submerged in water and grass, absorbing the sun. Sloths grazing high over the edge of the dark water. Macaws passing overhead in trademark pairs, looking for almonds. Each individual with their own life story unfolding and waiting to be watched. Every one in its own leading role, playing a part in a bigger story and unknowingly dependent on each other.

This first trip was the beginning of my forays into the rainforest. Experiencing the jungle is to walk into nature’s greatest wilderness, where it seems, at the time, that there is nothing else beyond it. That you’re in a world so apart from your own that you are unconsciously relieved by its utter indifference to your presence. You can be there, in the middle of it, and everything outside of it disappears and no longer wants anything from you. The show is never-ending and there is no space for distraction.

Looking back now I wonder what it was that intrigued me so much about the rainforest. Maybe it was the relieving contrast from the mandatory and predictable droll of school. Maybe it was the promise of a world that I knew I could never fully explore or reach the end of. Maybe it was the notion of a place so different from my own. Perhaps I discovered something in that video, on that Sunday afternoon. Escape. A place where every day the slate is wiped clean and anything is possible, and at the same time is constant in its vastness and mystery.

For whatever reason, the rainforest became my love. Where I feel at home and where I long for when I’m away. A place that writes a new story for me every time I set foot inside. The home of more species than anywhere else on earth and yet has a space for all; even me.


Where in the wild makes you feel like I do about the jungle? If you don’t know, perhaps you have some more exploring to do.



Be the first to comment.
All comments are moderated before being published.

Your Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Click here to continue shopping.
Thanks for contacting us! We'll get back to you shortly. Thanks for subscribing Thanks! We will notify you when it becomes available! The max number of items have already been added There is only one item left to add to the cart There are only [num_items] items left to add to the cart