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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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---continuation commentary #30b----

Things are different after the tumult of the parade has passed by, and Pan himself has receded into a more distant part of the valley, lying there through midday. After the animals, as well as the plants, leave off from their eagerness and striving to preserve themselves and to procreate, and either seek sleep or in the peaceful calm of the hour are led by the heat to rest at ease. Great, gigantic forests stand by, and the hospitality which they had displayed before is not to be seen: you do not see animals, you do not hear birds, you do not detect the cries of wild beasts, the beetles and many other insects have hidden themselves away, and only the immense trees, which fend off Phoebus's (5) fires with the vast arms of their branches, mutter with the blowing of the wind, and the waters murmur softly.

Whatever moves the spirit in this wondrous peacefulness of the lonely wilderness, reveals to it the utmost power of nature, lays bare for it the vigor and plenty and hardiness of things born providently for a long life. Here, in the midst of life of a longer-enduring nature, the mortal perceives how meager and evanescent his power is: indeed, many things will surpass the space of his life, and many will be destroyed by the efforts of humankind. When he himself, broken by the day's heat and shaken by the majesty of the place, has begun to take his rest and recline wearily, that momentous thought will strike his heart: "The highest power of the divinity acts in mute silence." 

Etching 30 Ancient Forest  from Martius's Flora Brasiliensis 1840. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections ! Color by C. Miranda Chor

Our artist, Benjamin Mary, has depicted a similar scene in etching #30, which you could label "The Leisure-time of the Tropical Forest." No animal is seen: the hunter hears only the pipping band of birds from the family Tanagra (6) approaching in flight from the distance. G.P. Lundy, Tanagra cyanocephala from Alcide d'Orbigny's  Voyage dans l'Amerique Meridionale, Paris 1837. Thanks to Lehigh U., Special Collections !most outstanding among the Danes, over whom the delightful loveliness of Brazil has kept hold for twenty years now, described such a moment exactly, just as he had been moved in person. He says, "Tanagra birds, decorated with festive colors, fly through those huge, virgin forests. Deprived of song, they give out only a kind of pip, with which the forest resounds at the approach of such a flock. The hunter's spirit is uplifted with joy when this sound nears, since he finds a great abundance of other birds mixed in with the Tanagra. Oftentimes in those vast forests, wrapped in eternal shadows, especially when the day is approaching its midpoint and Phoebus is casting the burning rays of the sun down upon the languid land from the middle of the sky, you feel yourself surrounded by a certain terrifying solitude. The motion of no living thing is detected, that solemn silence is broken up by no sound; Zephyrus, the gentle west wind. himself seems to venerate nature's stillness. 

Etching commentary 30b