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Letter from the jungle

Dear reader,

This past week has been wild, literally. We traveled from Paris to the third oldest rainforest in the world: Taman Negara. The density and depth of nature that surround us is overwhelming, reducing all human forms to mere termites (or even down the reign of parasites). Here, all shades of green are present, oozing tiny water drops, originating new life. Tualang trees grow taller than mountains, fiercely competing for that one ray of sunshine outside the forest’s dome. The sounds of hidden creatures keep us company while we wander, in awe, deep to the rainforest’s heart. We can barely stop for a water break, there are leeches lurking from the muddy ground, ready to kiss our ankles - the true toxic bachelors of the jungle.

The giant plants and never-ending lianas shelter us from the burning sun, which intermittently decides to strike our pale skins, reminding us of our powerless condition. Everything around us is magnified. Exotic leaves caressing us along the way. Extremely large insects crossing the vanished lane, they’re at least triple the size I’m used to (according to big city standards). I’ve realized size matters in the jungle, and my own existence suddenly feels so insignificant. It's a genuinely humbling experience. I want to surrender to the magnificence of it all. To show my deepest respect, to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry to be human, to be an animal and yet feel so detached from this pureness. I feel reckless and hopelessly devoted to my limited circumstances. I’m sorry it doesn’t feel familiar, as it should. I regret being part and cause of this incurable illness not even properly diagnosed.

It is when the night falls upon us that the real spectacle commences. An invisible orchestra of unknown musicians starts playing the song of life. It reminds me of Jazz music in its rawest form. I can hear frogs and Gibbons, rhythmically shaping the piece. Then an army of grass-hoppers burst their wings, in a synchronized wave to claim what’s theirs. And it’s really theirs, and we have no say. How could we? Who placed us in the center of it all? How can intelligence harm this purity?

There is no justice in nature. But the absence of justice doesn’t justify its absence - the perversion of humanity dictating what’s fair and what’s not. I wish I could stay here, suspended in the midst of what once was our home, with my eyes closed and my hands facing the greenest sky, made of ancient molecules, weaved by strong, clean leaves. I have an urge to bow before these forces, then disappear, abnegating the artificial rights we seem to have requested. Perhaps we don’t deserve it. Perhaps the end is the only thing we’ll understand.

Perhaps that’s justice after all.

Yours faithfully,

An ordinary human being.



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