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 National Park 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!