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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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deep darkness. The mountain on which we had traveled here is the highest of that branch of the Serra do Mar, which rises to about three thousand feet in elevation from the main massif, which heads north to the sea coast.

Serra do Mar

The mountains, which we later conquered, are lower, and rise only at great intervals. The path is sometimes deeply cut into the muddy clay soil, very narrow, and when mule troops pass through it, as often happens, it is dangerous. This quality of road is, after all, advantageous against ambush because the fact that a single narrow path for all travelers prevents the invasion from the bush, which would surely take place.

Etching #8 On the road to Sao Paulo

As for footpaths and bridges, nothing has naturally been done in these deserts, although the terrain in the vicinity of the numerous streams, especially in the rainy season, is almost impassable. In the ferns we were first surprised by the song of a gray bird, a thrush, which perches in the thicket and moist soil of the bush, and sings with continuous repetitions the diatonic scale of C sharp, from the key line of So to the upper La so regularly, that it does not lack a single note. In general, he repeats each note four to five times, and then passes imperceptibly to the next sharp. It is customary to deny the singers of the American woods harmonious expression, and only to grant it the splendor of plumage. If in general, however, these delicate inhabitants of the warm zones are distinguished more by the beauty of the color of the feathers than by the full and strong singing, that seems far inferior compared to the clear and melodious notes of our nightingale. However, among others, this bird proves that at least the foundations of the melody are particular to him. The extent to which the singing of man has generally acted on the art of animal singing is nonetheless of interest to a physiological study. At least it can be imagined that, when the almost untamed sounds of primitive men no longer resonate in the forests of Brazil, many of the winged singers will then sing the finest melodies.

In addition to the birds in the woods, zoologists are also struck by the abundance of snakes, especially the beautifully colored Ahaetulla that sneaks across the paths or appears dead to the passing troops. In the trees, especially in the humid places, there is a moss (1), which, because of its wonderful pink color, is a true decoration of the trunks. The beauty and distinctive splendor of this vegetation reminded Mr. Taunay to employ it.

1) Spiloma roseum, Raddi.

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