June 1, 2013
It is another “day after” for Oklahoma. It is agonizing being away and knowing that destruction struck once again. I know my immediate family and house are all safe, though apparently a section of my fence is down. That is a small thing compared to the magnitude of the losses of so many others.
Last night, I was receiving multiple texts, mostly from a friend in Georgia (thanks Tammi J ) who is also from Oklahoma. I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and walked back up to the place that has wifi so I could check in with people. Here is hoping that Oklahoma is finished with severe weather for a while.
Today was INCREDIBLE! We did the zip line canopy tour, which included a 1.5-hour hike in the rainforest that included treks over 5 suspension bridges. Once you got used to the way the bridges moved, they were fine, but the initial steps were a little crazy. The views were amazing, even as the fog moved in and clouded most of it. I continually find myself in awe of the rainforest—something I’ve previously only read about in books or seen on TV. The amount of symbiosis visible throughout is astounding. If only it were so easy to all live amongst one another, sharing our strengths to boost our collective weaknesses, as harmoniously as what is exhibited in the rainforest! Now whenever I see the “Save the Rainforest” promotions, it will have more meaning than previously.
Once we completed the walking portion of the tour, it was time to get our gear on and begin the nine zip lines (plus one for practice). I went first—no use watching and waiting. The first little practice one was very quick but so fun! We rode a tram to the top—again a chance to see some incredible views, even if they were a bit cloudy. We couldn’t do the first zip line until we climbed a tall tower. You were out of breath by the time you started. However, it was well worth it. We all had a blast, even though some of the rides involved rain that was painful as you flew through the air. We had many laughs as the expressions, mud slinging, and such that went on.
One of the things new I learned is that there are thunderstorms in the rainforest. I do not know how common they are—usually it is just rain, but we had a scary moment around zip line number five. I was standing next to the arrival platform taking pictures as my classmates zipped into view. A handful of others had already gone up to the top of the next platform. All of a sudden, there was a weird feeling in the air and I saw a flash in my peripheral vision. One of the workers jumped and yelled. Lightning apparently struck the cable or very near to it, and it burned his gloved hands. One of my classmates was on the zip line and felt it a bit, but it didn’t hurt her. The worker kept shaking his hands and was quite shaken up. Immediately, there was a super loud thunder. They halted things for about 15 minutes, after a few excited walkie-talkie conversations. Everyone on the next tower had to walk back down and wait. There was no more lighting or thunder, so we continued with the remaining zip lines in sporadic rain and fog.
Another cool thing we experienced is being so high up on a tower that we were above the rain. We could see more heavy rain below us, but we were above the tree line and it was barely misting. Can I just repeat that the rainforest is absolutely amazing?
One of the suspension bridges we crossed.
Part of the rainforest ecosystem