by Danay C. Downing
As I step into the forest, an overwhelming sense of excitement runs through me. I smell the fresh, crisp air, and I see green – green leaves, green plants, green trees – so much Green – so much taken for granted in other parts of the world. But here, it is special. Here lies biodiversity like no other. Here is the Sebangau Forest in all its glory – just waiting to be discovered, just waiting to be treasured.
“I smell the fresh, crisp air, and I see green – green leaves, green plants, green trees – so much Green – so much taken for granted in other parts of the world. But here, it is special. Here lies biodiversity like no other”
I step forward slowly, softly, yet intently, as I want to go deeper – I want to see more. The leaves rustle beneath my feet. The peat sinks down a bit, as my weight pushes it downward. Insects surround me; Cicadas sing to me. Butterflies encircle me, and mosquitoes and flies taunt me. Dragonflies mesmerize me – and I feel a sudden sense of calm – an unexpected sense of belonging – almost as if this forest is welcoming me – a stranger with good intentions – a visitor in awe.
Alas not today, not now…but soon, perhaps tomorrow, my dream will come true. I will see the red in the trees – the graceful movement – the majestic presence of the one and only orangutan. I can only imagine the emotion I will feel. I have worked with so many behind bars, I’ve loved so many stuck inside enclosures, I’ve played with so many forced to live in our human structures – but to see one in the wild – to see one in the trees – free and wild and living as they are supposed to be, how they were made to be – will be one of the greatest moments of my life.
I will most certainly shed tears of joy and disbelief, because no matter how great a home we give them in our world – nothing will ever compare to the forest. And, to see an orangutan moving throughout the forest – with choice and freedom and opportunity – will be the brightest, most eye-opening experience. I can only pray this happens soon, but even more so, I pray the orangutans will continue to have their homes – to have their natural forest lives and to thrive in this forest I’ve now been allowed to share a part of – – – for the man of the forest is nothing without the forest, and the forest is little without the incredible orangutan.
“…to see an orangutan moving throughout the forest – with choice and freedom and opportunity – will be the brightest, most eye-opening experience”
This is where Borneo Nature Foundation comes in…the hard work, the dedication, the learning, the lifestyle, and the entire team – will surely do everything possible to ensure this forest remains healthy. It will be an honor to have even a small hand in helping with this important mission. Over the next month, I will do my part and give what I have – and with any luck, and as a reward, I will see my first wild orangutan!