From the River

Water the color of Mayan jade spreads out  before us; canoe paddles and swarming, skimming insects break the  stillness. A frightened male iguana falls from his perch, plonking indelicately, to the river below. The silence of the Sibun is broken by the screeching of a howler monkey from a treetop a mile away. Water rushing over sheets of rock, or Chester, our Mayan guide, identifying the green king fisher sweeping by or the turkey vultures creeping above.Paddles are thrown aside and limestone sheets, mineral-stained like a pastel sunrise, are hurriedly swam towards. Pedicure fish nip around our kneecaps as we cool in the  pulling freshwater among minnows and snails.

A stripped male iguana  streaks by my periphery and is mistaken for a butterfly until Chester  produces him, dripping and irritated. We crowd around him to examine  wounds obtained, speculatively, from battle with a rival male or a  hungry feline. After we finish admiring his spines, Chester releases him back into the water and he hurries away over vegetation, perhaps surprised that he did not become a meal.

We’ll no longer hear the splash of figs landing nearby and we’ll devour Valencia oranges  directly from the branches; for now, we find peace among the waves.




If you have questions or suggestions of natural features or wildlife of Belize for me to discuss here, please contact me at [email protected]

Part of the class stands in the Sibun.
The male iguana that Chester caught.