Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Amazon at Night

In a beautiful passage from the later part of Henri de Büren's journal, he describes what it is like to be on the Amazon river at night. I imagine Henri in a long canoe with Indian oarsmen, rowing and singing while the forest is alive around him. I have done my best the capture the moment.

Loreto, Peru, October 3, 1853
The songs and the melancholy cries of the Indians mix well with the sounds that abound in the Amazon at night. It is quite an amazing effect. During the day, we hardly see any animals on the river banks or in the trees, and rarely do we hear any animal sounds. At night on the other hand, the cries, hoots and singing never ceases. You hear roars of tigers, hisses of serpents, croaking of frogs and the calls of birds. Sounds of turtles and otters entering the water, river dolphins coming up for air or thousands of fish moving just beneath the surface. The singing of so many birds, such as parrots and toucans, some with very melodious voices. Add to this the lush vegetation that surrounds the river reaching into the waters below. A full moon that leaves a long trail of light on the water’s surface that is so clear and still it is like glass. This same light also filters through the tall tress to cast long shadows on the copper colored bodies of our oarsmen. Imagine all of this and you could almost be in my Amazon canoe with me.


  1. Truly beautiful description. I hope I get to experience myself one day.

  2. I`ve never been in the Amazonas at night, but when I was in Iquitos a few years ago I went to the Itaya river, a secondary branch which joins the Amazon in Nauta, and the description above is nowadays entirely truly. I thought during that travel that the jungle is not a place, it`s an experience (or a state of mind, in trance music words;)

    Congratulations for the post!


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