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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: Summer in the Jungle
By Eddie Snipes


In the summer of 1989 I received a free trip to Panama as part of my military duties, and one day I got the wonderful idea to venture into the jungle to pick fresh coconuts. I followed a trail into the jungle until I reached a grove of coconut trees. The locals had picked them clean, so I journeyed deeper into the forest. There were multiple trails so I carefully made a mental note of which trail I was taking so that I could retrace my steps back out of the jungle. I soon came to another set of coconut trees, but they had already been harvested as well. I kept venturing deeper until at last I came across trees possessing coconuts. I struggled up a tree and picked three beautiful coconuts, then turned to make my trek back to the base.

I had not noticed on the way in, but the single trail coming in arrived in the middle of a network of trails going out. I wasnít overly concerned because I had a general idea of the direction of the base. I have to confess at this point that I have a terrible sense of direction. I operate visually but my internal compass is quite defective. I knew that I passed four or five groves coming into the jungle so when I passed the sixth grove I realized that I could not be going in the right direction. I back tracked several times until I finally came to the realization that I was completely lost. A sense of panic arose as I realized that I was sweating in a hot, humid jungle without any water and no one even knew I was gone. Even more disconcerting was the fact that I didnít even know which direction to begin walking. My first thought was to run in circles screaming that I was going to die, but on second thought this didnít seem like a good use of my energy. I suppressed my growing sense of panic and prayed for guidance. The jungle held me bound, and I was hopelessly on my own. As I prayed, the thought came to mind that since the base was near the canal, maybe I could hear the sound of the tide.

The jungle is a very noisy place, and I donít know which was more deafening, the screeching of the toucans or the serenading of the insects. As I listened, there was a brief lull in the noise, and I thought I heard a faint sound that could be water. I began to walk toward that sound, and before long I heard the tide gently rolling on the shore. As I neared the edge of the jungle, I came upon a barrier of vines stretching far up into the trees and horizontally for quite some distance. They were slightly thicker than honeysuckle vines but very strong. It took considerable hacking to cut through one vine, and since there were thousands of wandering barricades between my captivity and the shore, I realized this was not an option. I tried plowing into the mass of defenders but the multilayered defense would not break or uproot but instead rejected my advance by planting me on my back on the jungle turf. I walked around until I found a gap in the vines but the space was filled with elephant grass. Bees, ants, spiders and other creatures frequent this type of foliage so I didnít want to dive blindly into it. Not to mention that it is razor sharp, and I was wearing a t-shirt.

I did not dare to venture back into the jungle, and I could not get through the vines, so elephant grass was the only real option. It was thick, so I had to abandon two of my coconuts to free up at least one hand. I dove in and worked through the blades as quickly as possible and plopped on the shoreline tired, thirsty, and stinging with tiny cuts, but I was free from the grips of the jungle! Off in the distance was the base looking like a speck on the horizon. My jungle experience is much like spiritual life. One temptation may seem like a simple adventure, but it quickly traps us in its unforgiving snare. Though we may not emerge completely unscathed, if we listen, we do have the hope of hearing the Lordís quiet voice leading us out of temptation and to the path of life leading home.

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This article has been read 454 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Gregory Kane07/17/09
That was quite an ordeal just for a handful of coconuts. I liked your application at the end
Dolores Stohler07/18/09
Wow, that was quite an adventure! You held my attention all the way through, wondering if the coconut-picking spree would get you in trouble. Glad you made it back safely. Great story-telling.
Stephanie Craig07/22/09
I could hear the noise and feel the jungle heat. The application at the end was great.
Seema Bagai 07/22/09
The descriptions were fantastic. May I suggest you break up your paragraphs somewhat. If you're interested in seeing how that would look, send me a PM and I'll be glad to help.

I really liked the ending of this piece, too.
Sara Harricharan 07/22/09
Heehee! What a fun adventure, seems like a lot of work just for a coconut, eh? Nice descriptions.
Lucy Snipes07/27/09
I really liked your story, even though I must have heard it at least four or five times!