Eden Lodge. My home in the Amazon rainforest.
My home in the Amazon rainforest consisted of three spacious rooms and a wide verandah. There was space to sling my hammock and cook a meal and a spare room for visitors. Two of the rooms had flat, wooden ceilings, the other was open to the beautifully woven grass roof and, I’m afraid to say, rain drops.
It felt organic and had a strong smell of freshly cut wood. The surfaces of the verandah walls and doors were rough to the touch. It fitted well into the environment and was certainly a place where the wildlife felt at home.
Why Eden Lodge? Well, the multitude of animals, birds and insects I saw on a daily basis, along with the peace and quiet associated with the Garden of Eden, and of course the snakes, made Eden an obvious choice as a name for my home.
I loved it there. I felt at home the minute I arrived back, no matter how long I’d been away. The moment I stepped ashore, the forest wrapped around me like a pair of welcoming arms and I had a deep sense of belonging.
It took time to get the house in order on my return. Monduco, a friend and neighbour, who lived in a large canoe on the river, used the kitchen when I wasn’t there. He was not known for his cleaning skills. Everything had to be scrubbed clean and the area around the lodge had to be cleared.
But when all was in order again, I was able to sit in my rocking chair and watch the wildlife. When you’ve always lived in a busy city or town as I have, its sometimes difficult to wind down when away, but the journey to my forest home in planes, cars and boats began the detachment from that reality and by the time I reached Eden lodge I was ready to relax and totally immerse myself in the environment.
I didn’t move much when I was there. The humidity which made every pore in my skin wet and the heat which drained all energy, made exertion unpleasant. So I sat in my rocking chair or on the wooden harbour boards and watched and listened.
I found that I saw a great deal in that way. Rather than rushing around, digging sticks in holes, hauling myself up trees or diving headlong into rivers to unearth wildlife, my idea of bird or animal watching was to sit back and let it come to me. And, it worked.