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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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---continuation commentary #9a----

That I am a follower of this philosophy, I both willingly confess and dare to announce here. For after I had for a long time tried eagerly to discover truth and penetrate deeply into divine matters, and those other things which a modest youth usually busies himself about, I became stuck fast in the arid rocks, or rather the sandy Syrtes (quicksand) of intellectual endeavor. But impelled by some internal force, which had arisen not from my mind alone but from the whole nature of my spirit, and was being strongly nourished and magnified -- by this force, as if by the awareness of God which is inborn to me, I was led to that Platonic wonder, and from this limpid font, my thirsting heart drank in sweet succor and the powerful recreation of my spirit.

Do not marvel, dear reader, because you here find words of this sort, and do not be indignant, since it is only rarely permitted to me to pass outside the set bounds of our investigation and to consider with you those things which set us at peace and strengthen our heart, and which almost alone are able to give solace to human beings amidst the great frailty and misery of this world. 

On the fourth day of October 1819, I set out with Spix, the companion of my journey, and several accompanying Indians from Vila Nova de Rainha, which is situated along the Amazon River and which they popularly call "Topinambarana". We set out towards the south, so that wandering in primeval forests, we might collect plants. At first, as we traveled in a small boat through deep channels which were covered over with the vegetation characteristic of the "Ygapo" [the flooded forest], our way had to be made through a labyrinth of the humble shrubs and trees connected by leafless vines that make up these little woods. 

At the outset, various shrubs of LicaniaWallenia laxifloraCybianthus penduliflora and Eugenia egensis presented themselves, as well as other small-leafed species of the same genus, those of Nectandra canescensAnona tenuiflora and Anona foetidaDuguetia SpixianaGodoya gemmifloraPhellocarpus AmazonumDrepanocarpus floridus and Crista castrensisHecastaphyllus monetaria, various species of Inga Ilex MacucuBlakea quinquenervisGustavia augustaSagonea palustris, etc. In many places we found brush armed with the strong pricks of that Smilax, the roots of which it is known are sold under the name of Salsaparilha lisbonensis; among this brush the Cacao tree (Theobroma Cacao) spread its branches with their straightened leaves. This tree the Bombax Munguba overtopped, from the branches of which at that very time large, oblong capsules were hanging down.

Etching commentary #9a

Theobrama cacao, the chocolate tree