Coral Reef Classroom

January 17th, 2008

"for whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
its always ourselves we find in the sea 
                                                             – E.E. Cummings
Ever so true, these words from the literary hero of my teen-aged years.

But there wasn't much time for simple contemplation while we were there.
We were constantly observing, identifying and responding artistically to the fauna and habitat of the reef and surrounding forests. But what an exquisite

immersion into those translucent waters. The constant movement of such diverse and fascinating creatures was mesmerizing.

I think I've finally figured out the various stages of Stoplight Parrotfish, and how to distinguish them from Rainbow and Princess Parrotfish. All of them, so brilliantly colored and elegant as they float with majestic serenity through the beds of contorted coral and sponges.

Several days were spent hiking in the heat and humidity through the tangled, second-growth forest which is slowly reclaiming old sugar cane fields.  Trudging along two hundred year old pathways through thorny trunks, bromeliads and lianas, one couldn't help but think of the generations of slaves
whose lives were spent in brutal labor until they were finally liberated.

Now, in the rubble and ruins, the only (visible) residents
are bats, lizards, frogs and endless buzzing insects.

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