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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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large number above our heads. So beautiful is the plumage of these enchanting birds, with piercing squeals that hurt even the most insensitive ears, that surely, if they were known in ancient times, they would be regarded as bearers of misfortune and the worst omens. For us, however, a small collection of these noisy birds, which we put alive in the saddlebags of some mules, proved to be particularly useful in that they indicated to us, by their persistent stridor, that we had drifted away in the field investigation from the sounds of our troop that resonated far away from us. On the other side of the small stream, Borrachudo, we left the limestone formation, and found reddish granite soil with a small portion of mica. The vegetation rose low; In it we distinguish many trunks of the

gentian cachaca (Terminalia fagifolia), a tree that secretes from the inside of the bark a resin gum, similar to true gutta gum, although more reddish.

Rio das Pedras

We stopped by the small Rio das Pedras, in whose cool neighborhood, after a painful day's march, we enjoyed the chilling of the tropical night in the open air. That magnificent watch, in the midst of nature, was full of enchantments: the faint whisper of palm fronds, the fluttering song of birds in the distance, the solemn darkness of the starry firmament, under which the foliage of the grove stood out most intensely. The darkness, before our rapt eyes, gave our soul serenity, compensating us for the lack of civilized environment. This evening inspired us with such a disposition of spirit that we were gradually getting more and more excited on the way to Parana, through regions almost untouched by man. Instead of memories of troubles and dangers, only delectable images were in our minds. The few country dwellings at which we stopped also maintained this state of mind by the simplicity and cordiality of the treatment with which we were received. The inhabitants are poor, but not indigent, of rough customs, but of natural kindness. Instead of staying in their sheds, we preferred to camp out in the open, where we did not miss the pleasant, healthy water of the Sao Francisco River, when luck led us to some source of pure, fresh water.

On the third day of travel, we reached a very extensive plain; which rose imperceptibly; it was covered with a partly dry scrubland, allowing the mules of the troop to pass through the narrow and tortuous path. There were many times when the boxes were unloaded, or when it was necessary to cut down trees, making a path through which the animals could pass.

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