THE FOREST OF ORIGINAL GROWTH

What would it be like to stumble across lands
That no one else had ever been to,
And how could you know that?

After reading Sir Conan Doyle’s ‘Lost World’
About dinosaurs on a sealed off plateau of a volcano,
I wondered if there were any more undiscovered places
That the paths least followed could lead me to.

So while at the Earth Summit in Rio last month
I forayed into the uncharted regions of Brazil,
Having chosen from a map the remotest area.

After various vaccinations and preparations,
I trucked my one-man helicopter
To the last way station,
Loaded the extra gas tanks onto it
And flew into the heart of darkness,
Eventually gliding down onto a grassy field
Just as the gas ran out.

From here I walked for tens and tens of miles,
Always taking the most difficult path
Whenever there was a choice,
For this would insure that I could end up
In some totally unvisited region
That was near impossible
Or hard-to-get-at in any usual way.

After hundreds of these
“Improbable” path choices
I suddenly came across acres
Of Lady’s Slippers flowers.

These are very rare flowers
That usually appear in small bunches,
Growing only in conjunction with a rare fungus,
And even so usually get picked,
But there were millions of them.

After taking one last really
Difficult choice of a path,
I discovered entire fields of other flowers
Long thought to be extinct.
Some were Eve’s Blossoms,
Which not been seen
For thousands of years,
Historically valued for
Their life extending elixir,
As well as the original, lost,
Strain of Pearly Everlasting,
The flower that never dies,
And so I suspected
That I might be in virgin territory.

How would I know?
Well for one there were no paths left,
For even animals and their hunters
Had either long left or had never even been here.

Also the flower colors were not like any
That I had ever seen before,
Not new colors, mind you, but just, well,
Colors of different intensities and hues
That were not thought to exist in nature.

I saw true-blue roses, legendary no more.

I had chanced upon a land
Of strange rainbows of elfin-hued flowers:
Red Delphiniums, Black Tulips,
Orange Fuchsias, White Marigolds, Bronze grass,
Yellow Violets, and even Adam’s Apple,
Now growing from the ground!

Was this the original forest—
The Garden of Eden?
Was I the first to return
To this legendary paradise?

And then I knew that
It was indeed the Garden,
For there, right in front of me,
Was a field of thousands of undisturbed
Golden nuggets on the forest floor.

Surely no one had ever been here,
At least not for a long, long time.

I reached up and put the apple back on the Tree.

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