upright primates consider ourselves the civilized in the
natural world. We distinguish ourselves by our own defining
definitions, separating our communities between the developed
states of our species and those that we claim to be still
real irony, besides us homo sapiens who tend to make way
too much noise with boom boxes screeching out inaudible
music lyrics as well as the reality that we have a panache
for pushing our car horns at intersections around the globe
reflecting in turn the true impatient nature of our species,
the loudest animal in the wild kingdom turns out to be not
us but some smaller primate on the living planet. And regardless
of its size, the means by which it uses to communicate with
its own can be heard from as far away as three miles.
that kind of direct communicating, we humans require artificially
created mechanisms like those dastardly 'weapons of destruction'
we generally reach for to get the attention of our fellow
foragers. We argue more and more about oil and food and
dollars and trade deficits and books that we disagree upon.
Just maybe if we had simply resorted to talking to each
other after we came down out of the trees, well just maybe
the monkeys amongst us would not have decided it was safer
to live their life high upon the branches in the upper canopy
first time I came eye to eye with the truly loudest beast
that roams and forages the planet was one day when I finally
took the time to venture south by boat from the fishing
village of Placencia. That bright and sunny Belizean day
my guide weaved our boat through the mangroves as I and
my fellow passengers sat back in awe, not only at the manatees
that we noticed off the bow of the boat, but also at the
precision by which the captain could manoeuvre the skiff
through the cut outs of overhanging branches.
Placencia we soon passed the docks at Big Creek where ships
from around the world came and went with their treasures.
Along the way our guide pointed out in the distance a shoreline
retreat, an isolated stretch of beach where upon the return
trip to Placencia we met the proprietor, a one Bob of Bob's
Paradise. Interestingly, Bob served ice cold beverages to
passing patrons of the tour boats that would take the time
to slow down to show us their world from his paradise in
the nude. No doubt it was not a pretty sight despite the
tropical bliss that surrounded Bob and his little piece
of paradise. Regardless, since that day, Bob's vanished,
for the entire place was wiped off the face of the shoreline
by a hurricane that ravaged the area a few years back.
after we passed Bob's Paradise, we reached the aptly named
tributary of Monkey River. After a quick stopover for beverages
and some local conversation with the villagers of Monkey
River Town, we turned our focus up river. The sun was gloriously
bright that day and despite the heat of the early morning,
the birds were abundant and littered the shoreline.
three miles up the twisting switchback turns of the Monkey
River, our boat suddenly changed course and tacked directly
to the shoreline. There standing under the overhanging trees
that laced the pristine river was a towering Belizean man.
this very day I can see the man and the determination in
his warm eyes peering back towards the boat welcoming my
fellow adventurers and I to the shore of the Monkey River.
As we disembarked from the skiff, he immediately stressed
the importance that we had to be on the move, for the troop
of primates that we had all paid hard earned dollars to
witness in the wild were indeed at close range.
this in mind, collectively we started to run. Some of our
group were prepared better that others for the adventure.
Though some stumbled on the muddy banks of the Monkey River,
others gained their footing quickly and ran in close pursuit
of the man as he darted first left then right down a narrow
trail that dictated the direction he had little doubt that
the animals were moving.
just as quick as he started, our newly anointed riverside
guide stopped just as suddenly in his tracks. As we all
stood quietly, he seemingly took a whiff of the air and
turned to look down upon us to say, "They are here,
I can smell their urine in the wind."
I have to say this was about the same time that two older
women on our tour from Atlanta caught up to the rest of
the group of us that had followed the instructions of the
man to the letter that required that we stay in hot pursuit
in a complete veil of silence.