Beneath The Canopy
Peter Dalrymple, Grade 10, The Scots School
3rd in the 'Legendary 2012' competition
The heavy, swollen mass of cloud rolled over the jagged peaks of the sprawling mountains. The daunting weather system moved slowly, as if it were dragging its feet. Long, deep thunderous bellows echoed across the landscape. The sound rebounded off the tall crescent of sharp rock, bouncing back toward the formidable expanse of damp and humid rainforest.
Down below the canopy, the voice within the clouds was muffled to a faint growl. Darkness skulked around like an intimidating youth down a deserted alley. Only thin needles of light penetrated the heavy blanket of foliage. Fat raindrops began to appear from the now bulging mass of vapour. They fell in a slow and lethargic manner, as if delaying their inevitable impact with the green shield covering the clammy ground.
The great blanket held strong, the warm water seeped through at a sluggish rate trickling down the scarred and creviced trunks of the jungle trees. The water eventually met the already sodden ground. It began to pool and settle in the dense undergrowth, littering the land with shallow puddles. Around them, the small and peculiar fauna of the rainforest began to stir in the tropical storm. Deadly reptiles covered with elaborate markings, as if they had just made a visit to a local tattoo parlour, slipped and slid through the waterlogged mass of rotting leaves and bark. Small, wide-eyed mammals tiptoed cautiously to the puddles to dare a drink, and tiny but lethal insects crawled up and down the soaked trunks, out of sight but ready to strike at any provocation.
The Queensland rainforest, although lush and wet, is a harsh and unforgiving environment. It demands a high level of respect and gives back very little, like an overpaid politician. It has little essence of civility and punishes any who make the simplest of mistakes. Without great caution and consideration, the rainforest can be a very dangerous place.