Rainforest Child

by S.A.Vaughan, UK.

You wake in a beautiful tranquil place, warm, safe and happy. You are a child in the rainforest of the Amazon, your home. All around you are trees a hundred feet high and far older and wiser than man. Here and there the sun breaks through, dappling with light the dark green, luxuriant undergrowth.

You watch through the eyes of a child as beautiful butterflies, flaunting kaleidoscope wings, dance from scented flower to scented flower. You see and hear the song of the rainforest, your home. But you know from your father, who knows from his ancestors, that although you belong to the rainforest, the rainforest does not belong to you. It feeds you, clothes you, gives you its music and keeps you safe and you must respect it. You must take from it only what you need and the rainforest will replace it for you. This is the way of your people. It has always been the way of your people.

A short distance away is your village. You can see it now. You can see and hear the sights and sounds of everyday life lived as it has always been lived, for countless centuries. You can see your friends playing, running, jumping and scrambling, delighting in the smallest of make- believes. You can hear your mother scold your father for his idleness and then laughter. All is well in your world. But then you hear it, another sound, an ugly alien sound which is not of your home, but of the world beyond. You know that sound. It is the sound of the roaring animal with metal teeth that cuts and rips the trees and slaughters your home. It is the sound of destruction for you, your family and your way of life, lost, perhaps, for ever.

You run to your village. You see the tears in your mother’s eyes, but she cannot stop them. You see the hopeless, futile anger in your father’s face and know that he cannot stop them, and if you were older you would know that you are not the first, nor will you be the last, whose way of life is carelessly, thoughtlessly and criminally tossed aside and disposed of. But you are a child and have not yet learnt that you have no freedom, nor the right simply to be.

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