Posted by: floridanature | May 5, 2008

Under the Rabbit Moon

We paddled into the night, and when we were fully enveloped, we stopped and listened. Steve was my paddling buddy and he is as intrepid as it gets. But he is also contemplative, strong, dependable.

And so we go into this Florida river only knowing for sure that the moon will rise, and it will be whole. And so it does, and you will imagine this now—up and over the top of the dark canopy of cypress and into the great vast ether above, full and pale, with the slightest image of a rabbit—and not a man—outlined in its distant craters.

We move silently through it all and as we go, the animals sing from inside the dense jungle-like shores. The gators grunting, the spring pepper and Southern leopard frogs croaking, the limpkin screaming as it has done here for thousands of years. No wonder the Creeks called it the “Crying Bird.”

It all reminded me of the journal of the naturalist Alexander Humboldt, who once wrote about his early 19th century investigation of another jungle river—one shrouded in the heart of South America. Startled by the sheer volume of animal voices he heard at night during his river passage, Humboldt asked the Indians there why it was so.

“They answered with a smile,” Humboldt explained, “saying that the animals are rejoicing in the return of the full moon.”

And perhaps they are here too, celebrating a time when a once-wild river returns again to its most primitive, evoking an untamed spirit that lives once more in the shadows, dancing above the old Indian shell middens, under a rabbit moon.

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  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptWe paddled into the night, and when we were fully enveloped, we stopped and listened. Steve was my paddling buddy and he is as intrepid as it gets. But he is also contemplative, strong, dependable. And so we go into this Florida river … […]


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