Storm Clouds Rising Over Rainforest
Amazonas, Venezuela

I was watching a storm front come whistling down the Brassa Casiquire, the intracoastal passage that connects the great rainforest basins of the Amazon and Orinoco Rivers. The water flow actually reverses, depending on which basin gets the predominance of rainfall at any time. The storm front was closing in on a sunny December day, making rainbows in front of itself that it would chase into dark oblivion. The air was close and still with all birdsong and insect noise stilled in anticipation of the major barometric change barreling our way. This photo is just before the storm hit. We had battened down tarps over the canoe, and crawled into the stifling space only moments before the wall of water hit. Rainwater filled the canoe despite the tarp covers, and we shook it off as the rain lessened as the storm continued. "No, don't let up the tarp" I had called, since I knew what would be coming next. A high pitched-singing noise arose on all sides, and now the air was dark with mosquitoes who came in a cloud as thick as the water ha been that preceded them. Within minutes, the next chorus tuned up. Frogs, tree frogs, poison arrow frogs, toads, lizards, all came rushing to the feast. In ten more minutes there will be one more cold-blooded joiner--and there is the first one. A green head pushes through the water over the sinewy shape beneath. The cycles of seasons here are limited to two--rainy season and dry season on the equatorial perpetual equinox--but all the seasons one can count come on the double quick march within an hour if you stand watching on the Orinoco. In this dynamic area, both the flow of water through rivers and the air masses through the rainforest can switch directions at any time, with a mixing of the profligate tropical speciation present in each.

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