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Remember the Rainforest 1

 

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very kindly, as his guests, and invited us to see later the church, which was only half finished, full of badly decorated wooden decorations. We found it festively illuminated and with a Nativity scene where the baby Jesus was reclining. Finding a symbol of religion here, too, impressed us, for we were touched by the idea that in these deserted and so beautiful jungles the doctrine of the Savior reigns, and the Christian spirit will develop ever more pure.
  
Ever since we had descended from the mountains to the Paraiba Valley, the landscape's appearance was always changing in appearance, and its many features stood out sharper and more prominent as we moved away from the shadowy virgin forests of Serra do Mar.

The road, from now on, would take us through the vast Paraiba Valley, over low hills, at first covered with all sorts of isolated thickets and trees, which, however, were more and more open, only covered with grass and undergrowth, or long rows of pineapples. Herds of oxen grazed in these pleasant regions. Brazilians distinguish the two main features of the vegetation by the name of “mato” (bush) and “campo” (field), but the varied diversity of the latter, which more or less characterizes the local feature of the landscape, has many other names. Most of the Paraiba Valley is covered with peculiar fields, which come down from the heights and are rarely interrupted by low brush. Although these fields do not offer the lovely bright green view of our northern meadows, yet they marvel the viewer at the varied abundance and novelty of their vegetation. On the ground of hard clay, usually red, mixed with many parts of quartz, are isolated clumps of grayish green grass, now furry and closer together, now more distant from each other; among them rises a world of Rubiaceas, Malpiguiaceas, Apocineas and Compostas, of great variety, both in color and in elegant shape. Among these little children of Flora thrive plants, thick-bark trees, scattered, rarely more than fifteen to twenty feet tall, with tight, winding branches of dull, dull, gray-green foliage forming a thicket that is low, of course, which easily distinguishes the contours of each feature. This form of bush is called “tabuleiro” (table) in Brazil, and when the trees grow so close together, the branches of one touch the other, “tabuleiro coberto” (covered table). Outside the prominent trees grow richly flowering myrtles, sprawling Banisterias, Erythroxyls of compact foliage, many

quantities of savory guabirobas (Psidium), here and there in interwoven closed oak groves, in which rarely a grotesque cactus arises. This plant, so characteristic of America, is much less common here than in the burning sands of

Psidium guajava

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