Written by past Tatalu Conservation Resident, Isabel Gutierrez, pictured on the left above.
My experience at A Rocha has been full of delight for all the different languages each creature speaks, mimics and embodies. The process of becoming familiar with certain sounds, images and characteristics is both a journey of learning and of reflection.
It is amazing learning that a simple salmon scale can communicate the length of time the fish has spent in freshwater and in the ocean. The resemblance with the rings of a tree blows my mind, it makes me wonder which other creatures have rings that provide this type of information. Also, I never thought that the presence of tiny creatures in the river bed (benthic invertebrates) and their diversity, is a parameter for determining water quality. Even seeing how some people are committed to identifying birds’ songs for determining their presence without even seeing them is kind of impressive, regardless of my personal preferences.
On the other side, reflecting on what the observations communicate to my inner-self is a journey of continuous wonder and questions. If our body holds history, how do we access it? Is the intestinal microbiota our own kind of benthic invertebrates? Which things have I negated just because I cannot recognize them? We rely so much on our sight and hearing, how can we stimulate our other senses? What if we have another sense and it is dull because we have forgotten how to use it? And a series of never ending questions for a curious mind that inhabits every human if we let them talk.
Although nature’s voice may be subtle, artistic, poetic, and at times misunderstood; nature always has something to say, something to teach and if we learn to listen, it will transform our way of thinking about rhythms, cycles, perseverance, balance and collaboration. Nature´s voice is not just a sound, it is an immersive sensorial experience that can at times be uncomfortable. But it teaches us about the beauty in learning how to just be; it grounds us and reminds us to be present and appreciate the essence of things.
Nature’s language may seem to be forgotten, but the reality is that we have forgotten to be aware of our own bodily receptors trying to make sense of what we listen, see, perceive, smell, and feel. At the end, we are nature continuously experiencing the voices that arise from interconnectedness.
Find out more about the Tatalu Conservation Residency here.