Darwin’s dream

    I look into the small window of my camera. A soft push on the release button transforms the window into focus. For a moment I wake up from the dream I had been drifted into. What I see makes me return to my fantasy world. A world that has disturbing similarities with an episode of Star Trek.

    We have landed into a volcanic landscap that is like nothing I have ever seen. Black lava sculpted by the hand of God flows petrified beneath me. Red weed fights a war between an inhospitable world and a world of beauty. This feels like the beginning of time.

    This is not my world. This is someone else’s world. The black lava begins to move, and I see red-green dragons. Their fierce-looking claws and head makes us flinch with horror. The small dinosaur- like iguanas look at us, in the same way. These strange white animals don’t belong here.

    When we move closer they don’t move a muscle. This is their world. With their tongue they sense us. Up close we see their armoured skin which radiate red and green colours. We can get enough of looking to each other. They don’t move when we aim our camera on them. Photos will make the stories come alive for the people back home. Ugliness becomes the model for a new natural beauty.

    The discoverer in ourselves gets discovered when the animals study us with curiosity. A sea lion look strange at us when she gildes beneath us. This strange formed animal with this long, bright coloured tongue, that is sticking out of the water, are not in their natural environment. A shark swims towards me to see my face become white, while the “du-du-du” swells inside my mind. A dolphin smiles at us when she gliders beneath our boat and with a jump rushes away.

    “Whale! Whale!”, one of the boat men screams. I drop my diary and run to the bow. A small plume of smoke appears at the horizon. A whale breathing at the surface. The distance is too far, but still it feels special. The closest I ever been to a whale!

    Life that welcomes us is one big coloured phantasy show. Frigate birds perform an arial ballet show of black kites against the blue sky. On land the show continues with the squint-like clowns with bright blue feet. The blue booby proudly dances in front of her babies. Like a fat woman an albatross parades in front of us and gracefully drops off the cliff. She flies higher and higher off to the horizon. In the trees we find some red Christmas decoration. When we look closer we see the frigate birds who try to impress the females by blowing their throat bag into a red ballon. Orange crabs skate sideways on green seaweed. “Lonely George”, that must have been the inspiration for the movie “E.T.”, extends his neck, searching for the last turtle female. A tiny yellow bird lands on his leg. The bird comforts the giant turtle on his lost love, that never will return.

    We return to the boat. In the break of this wonderful nature show we snack on popcorn and tuna crackers and watch more images on TV. In the evening we go to a harbour for a short visit. Internet, ice-cream and discos do us return to a completely different world. At night mother sea cradle us to a deep sleep.

    “End of the breeding season approaches”, our guide explains. For the smallest of the baby birds there will not be enough food. “The eldest young will push her younger sister of brother out of the nest”. Shocked we look at the cute fluffy birds in front of us. On these island full of life death can be around the corner.

    The next meeting with death unexpectedly arrives that same evening, A quite old man reads a thick book. When he does not read, he sleeps. In the evening he seem to experiment with content of some plastic bottles. He explains that an Ecuadorian medicine man gave these bottles to him. “This is my dream” he tells me. “40 years ago I am emigrated from Poland to the U.S. There is nothing in my home country to return to. I have also left my loved one in America to follow my last dreams.

    “I have cancer”.

    For a moment time stops and we both dream of home, and our lives. “The doctors have told me that I only have 3 months to live. In Ecuador I have met a medicine man who has some good results with herbal medicines. It will not stop cancer, but it will give me some time to make some of my dreams reality”. I recognise his dreams and tell him that I respect his bravery. The whole night we talk about dreams. Dreams of travel. Dreams of life. Dreams of family. His dream will soon end. My dream has just started.

    Now I sit in a small cafe with a cappuccino and think back at the wondrous time on the islands. My thoughts are interrupted with sound of cars, talking  people and loud music. I want to escape to a next wondrous silent place to become me. My heart has been opened with the amazing beautiful nature of the planet. In the newspaper I read about the possible nature disaster because of a sinking ship that could impact the Galapagos islands. A tear swells into my eye. Will the dream of life ever stop? Will men destroy God’s dreams?

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