Just as we enter a new year, which – by the way – has very little orientation to the true cycles of things, but it merely fits nicely into the Gregorian calendar, we here in the jungle are seeing the new cycles of the jungle life taking shape. The rains have diminished to some afternoon thundershowers a few times a week, which are quite refreshing, however it is the change in acoustics that is quite something this time of year, and visuals, as well. During the night we are hearing the nightjars with their very loud whistling as they locate and mark their territories, while calling for their mates. Nightjars are odd little birds that kind of nestle into the ground, or on rocks, and look as though they have no feet, with huge bright eyes, their entire life comes out during the night, much the same as owls. Although I am not hearing them every night, some nights are actually still somewhat limited to the crickets, the nightjars’ ‘songs’ have become quite regular, and there has even been the addition of a different bird that I absolutely do not recognize, but it has a call somewhat like a cat – and during that sleepy half-awake moment, I must stop and listen to realize ‘yes, that IS a bird!’, what kind of bird is the unknown. The fireflies have also returned in the evenings, which for me are always a pleasure, although they are much fewer here than what we had at the lower elevations. Regardless, they certainly lend their enchantment to the evenings as we gaze out into the jungle. It is the early mornings that I most enjoy however, when the many different birds begin their daily rituals; the hummingbirds – colibris – are some of my favorites. As I sit on my deck sipping my morning coffee, the male papaya tree right in front is a huge attractant for the hummers, the flowers are intoxicatingly sweet and many and they flower on and on, being a joy and a source for the little birds. Right now it seems that there is a mating dance going on amongst the little nectar guzzlers, several different species take their turns moving through the branches and the flowers, stopping to enjoy their moments as well on a branch, singing their songs to the others that are visiting the many hummingbird/butterfly attractive flower bushes that are planted nearby. They guzzle, dance and dance through the air with one another, and the larger more defensively territorial hummers chase the tiny little gorgeously colored ones away (yes, even in these beautiful little birds we find offense and defense, or the little voices shouting ‘mine’, tsk). These little wonders of creation are such a pleasure to watch! Have you ever watched a hummingbird lick his beak? This tiny little shiny tongue comes out of that really long beak and kinda flips around a bit – they must slurp the nectar sometimes, yeah? LOL These wonderful little creatures can lead into a meditation with open heart energy, thank you very much.
The cicadas have also returned, although they are not noticeable every day yet, we did hear one day’s opening ceremonies just recently…soon they will drown out much of the other jungle noises of the day. These large insects are amazingly noisy, with a buzzing that drones on and on, all day long. A definite sign of summer in the jungle. The drone of the cicadas goes on for months, until the next rainy season. And then the dead bugs, which are really large, start dropping out of the sky and litter everywhere for days…the end of another cycle (but that is not for a few months yet).
There are numerous subtle changes evident here now with the seasonal shift, far more activity with the insect world, for sure. The leaf-cutter ants are on the move again, seeking out more material (this week it is my chili plants, the little devils), moving out into new territory and establishing more insanely huge colonies of more and more ants – is there no population control here??? Apparently not. Their highways are amazing, two lane highways that stay busy all day long, you cannot miss these critters yet they can disappear into the jungle without a trace! Where are you guys going? Absolutely amazes me. And of course there are lots of little flying bugs that are busting out everywhere, one kind in particular are the fruit flies, they are of epidemic proportions in my kitchen right now. They not only seek out any kind of food that is out, i.e. bananas, any fruit, tomatoes and chilies and other vegies, etc., but they are hovering all over the coffee mugs and the tray of utensils and the counter tops, wuzzup with that? Fruit fly traps are next…
And then there are the ants that insist on attacking and biting ferociously as we are diligently cleaning up the excess growth out and about from the rains, weed whacking and chopping…I tell you what, those buggers can invade your rubber boots and be up under your long sleeve shirt so fast! And when you weed whack here in the jungle, it is necessary to have a suit of armor on – a big apron, a mask with screen, long sleeve shirts, long pants, rubber boots, weed whacker strapped on and buckled up…try to get all of that off in a hurry and you have a Charlie Chaplain film all over again, at the expense of the weed whacker! ‘There was shit flying everywhere…!’ It is funny only if you are watching, and then it is important to be careful that the attacked one does NOT see you laughing.
Another critter that has shown up here in the jungle with the seasonal changes is the one known as the Tourist. Although I must say that we don’t see too many of them where we are, the evidence of their arrival is everywhere ‘out there’, you cannot drive on the roads or stop by a market without there being so many of them just gathered and lurking and talking and laughing, a very inquisitive nature these critters have and are very similar to some of the other jungle creatures in that they can be sticky (or is that just the humidity?!). All kidding aside, attention is a must while driving, especially with the abundance of tourists, and timing is everything when attempting to seek serene spaces that could be targeted by this species. Okay, they can be fun and entertaining when approached and interacted with on a very open-minded level of curiosity. They usually are here in abundance during the dry season.
A New Year, a new season, and a new outlook on life, now is the time for some New Dreams and New Experiences. Out with the old (world) and in with the New World, the world of wonder and amazement and appreciation for all of the gifts of nature, including ourselves (yes, even the ants). Eyes open for anything, it is always there for us to see, all we need do is pay attention, be still long enough to realize and witness, and enjoy! Laugh a lot and get out of our own way, good thoughts for 2013. As for us, we listen and learn continuously from the jungle that is our home.
Happy New Year