Posted: November 4, 2011

Name: Zoe Lieb
School: Connecticut College
Major: Biological Sciences
Program: Tropical Rainforest Studies, Australia

At last the rain joined us here in the rainforest. It is as though an entirely new season has begun – the frogs have awakened their calls and the trees seem to be breathing deeply in the moist air. A weekend of midterm studying was rewarded with a trip to Daintree where we realized the extent of the diversity of forest types here in Australia, and an even more amazing degree of rainfall.
A cassowary and his chick crossed our path the first day. They were as curious as we were for a moment before disappearing into the complexity of buttresses, vines, and limbs. It is incredible to come face to face with an animal that looks more like a dinosaur than a bird. This startling connection the rainforest here has to the deep past of the Earth renews its mystery and our awe. I found the mangroves the most stunning forest type; a matrix of moving mirrors flowing below twisted, moss-encrusted trunks, and a green aura blocking out the sky.

We returned to Yungaburra, refreshed by Daintree but happy to get dry, and went to the Folk Festival. The town bloomed with local artists, Australian music, food, and endless laughter. The energy of the setting engulfed everyone present and I felt so welcomed by the locals. This was the first time I saw the community of this place as a whole, a real living thing that needed only people and intention to be real. It made Yungaburra feel a little bit like home.