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Remember the Rainforest 1



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I was appreciating, at leisure, this new spectacle for me, when, suddenly, long

Maximiliana regia, center

shadows of the Indaias palms (Maximiliana regia, M.), stretched over the fields, reminding me of the night that was coming and going home. However I still wanted to see first the low tide where I had seen flying flocks of water fowl and ducks. I waded a shallow pool and was soon in front of a small lagoon of crystalline waters, surrounded by large-leaf arundinaceas and of the mighty Aruns.

Arundinacea, the large leaf reed

How surprised I was to see the beautiful bird pond in the Sao Francisco River. Just like that, here was all of life, only it was more populous because of the gathering of birds, and noisy with their loud voices.

Bird lagoon, Rio Sao Francisco

I wanted to go back to shore, but I lost the way between the curves of the waters, and with sweaty palms, faced the dark stretches of the virgin forest, which crossed the waters in various directions; And the more worried I was looking for my companions, the more confusing and intricate the plants seemed closing in around me. Soon afterwards, the enjoyment of the beautiful spectacle of nature was changed to terror, for in the swamp, where I had lost myself, snakes were in

Bactris Maraja, center

the back of collars of the palm tree of Espinho Maraja (Bactris Maraja, M.) (1), and the marantas trapped me in resistant, increasingly dense fences; The broad leaves heliconias, under which I sought to take refuge, hid me in deep waters, and, when I stopped lurking, I perceived crawling crocodiles, which certainly would come after the lost for prey.



Horrified, I realized that I was involved in one of the notorious '"mondongos", where the Indians often flee, into the burrows of dangerous animals full of deadly labyrinths.
It started to get dark, and as I was out of ammunition, I was not going to be quiet and made continuous callings to ask for help. Since this was not helping and I was exhausted after some time, I climbed through a trunk of the Jubati palm tree,

Sagus Taedigera, the Jabuti palm

whose still remaining fronds formed a kind of ladder. In the closed canopy of this tree, I was safe from the attack of the beasts. So, very cautiously I rested on its stems, so as not to be wounded by the thorns. Little by little darkness fell, and countless stars flickered up in the Heavens.

Southern stars and constellations

However, in this situation nothing could excite me, nor animate me with its beauty. On the contrary, I gave myself up to the expectation that my long-running absence, under such circumstances, would determine my traveling companions to come looking for me. In fact, Dr. Spix sent the Indians to find me. They fired their rifles,

(1) It seems to us Marajo calls the palm tree Espinho Maraja which is known in other parts of Brazil as Tujizz or Tucuma. (Nota da Rev., Inst. Hist. and Geogr. Bras. ).