Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Rainforest: Burgeoning Life, Sudden Death

People often ask me about the dangers of the rainforest. They expect me to mention tigers, or something really exciting like that. (I've never seen one.) I am more likely to mention malaria-carrying mosquitoes, or the spirochete leptospirosis. (Although I must admit hearing a female elephant trumpet her displeasure nearby is definitely a different experience to hearing one in the zoo. And I wasn't at all surprised to see grown men scatter - fast - at the sound.)
This has got to be a Malaysian Ent, right?

A great many Malaysians, though, will mutter about djinns or forest spirits as the thing they fear. In truth, death in the forest is likely to be much more prosaic. And on this trip, I certainly had a narrow escape from serious injury, which might possibly even have been fatal. As it was, I escaped unscathed.
The road to Borneo Rainforest Lodge
And the cause? Something very boring. 
A falling branch. 
We were walking in single file. I had lagged behind the person in front (my assistant, Eileen) because I was chatting with the gentleman behind me, a tourist from UK. (Thanks, Merv. I owe you one.) It had rained heavily the night before, and a water-soaked branch - about as thick as my forearm and several metres long - came crashing down from a huge height. It landed several metres behind Eileen, a mere arm's length in front of me and shattered under the force of its fall.

A split second later and I would have been toast, or at least someone with a very, very bad headache. The heaviest, thickest part of the branch was squarely in the middle of the narrow trail. When I picked it up later, I was amazed at just how heavy it was.
A determined tree doesn't let a rock bother its quest for life.
 And the irony? We were walking down the Coffincliff trail at the time.
Such is life.

6 comments:

Eneit said...

meep! I believe you were told quite sternly to take care. But those are fantastic pictures *g*

Jo said...

Phew, I am so glad you were chatting and lollygagging. Nasty experience.

Yes, definitely an Ent. Maybe it took a liking to you and made sure you were not in the wrong place.

Thanks for the wonderful pictures.

Brendan said...

Wow, you were lucky. At least when a tree almost fell in me I was in the Brisbane Botanical Garden, so fairly
close to medical assistance.

Brendan said...
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Glenda Larke said...

I must admit the experience made me ponder the meaning of life...or something. *Scratches head.*