“Nothing reminds us of an awakening more than rain.” ― Dejan Stojanovic
I am standing on the porch watching the rain come. It is beautiful. It seems to dance on the glistening foliage before falling to the ground and then releases its earthy aroma. Last rays of sunshine filter through the canopy making the magenta bougainvillea even more vibrant. For having a small urban lot, we have created our own jungle paradise, I’m thinking, which brings us joy and much-needed privacy. The palms, banana trees, Schefflera (umbrella tree) tall white bird of paradise and four large mango trees hide us from the street.
The sound of the rain has its effects. It triggers memories of a distant rain forest.
My mind takes me to the wide veranda of the Asa Wright Nature Center in Trinidad, a Caribbean island lying off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. High up in the mountains, Asa Wright is located on a former cocoa-coffee-citrus plantation surrounded by lush rainforest. With binoculars, we watched the jungle come to life with colorful and exotic birds in their natural habitat. The toucans were my favorite.
We stayed in a cottage behind the main house and every night we went to sleep with the steady rhythm of the rain and smelled that same earthy aroma. Every morning we were awakened by a raucous cry of green parrots arriving in the mango tree by our window, telling us it was time to get up. The sheets we slept under and the so-called dry clothes we put on every morning always felt damp, but a hot cup of tea on the veranda while watching the birds through the misty canopy was well worth it. Ponchos were worn daily as we walked through the rainforest with our guide, who helped us identify birds on our lengthy Audubon bird list.
Instead of macaws and toucans flying through my yard, I settle for the cardinal that comes and drinks water out of the bloom of the white bird of paradise.
And I am content to watch the pelicans in formation, fly overhead to get back home. I am content to know the egrets, blue herons, and yellow-crowned night herons are tucked away in the mangroves by the dock and are safe.
It is time to go in, now. The rain is coming down harder and lightening and thunder are accompanying it.
But first, one last look at our little rainforest.