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Capoeira in a Brazilian Forest

Posted on 29 December 2007 by chan

campao forest

Everywhere I walk, beautiful butterflies to guide me.   Peace and energy glows from this place, sourrounded by mountains and beatiful vistas.  Birds chirp vigorously, crickets click rhythmically and the serenity of the wind cools troubled thoughts.  We decide to go on a track alone once again, this time to another waterfall towards the west.  We leave in the morning to give us heaps of time to meander around and soak up the beauty.  Instantly our paths are forked as tracks start to split off onto more tracks and others onto yet more. 

Luckily we picked up a random dog on the way which we proceded to call umbu  for no apparent reason.  We decided that we would use the dog as a guide to lead us through the tretcherous forests of brasil.  I dwardled behind the pack, filming the butterflies  that would sweep my path.  All the different colours of the rainbow would fly in and out of my view, each one more beautiful than the next. The group of boys eventually dissappeared into the distance, as I was left with my thoughts and the beautiful serenity that surrounds.  The next path that I chose to go down would determine one of the most unbelievable adventures of my life.

The path I chose veered off to the left up and over a mountain and down onto a flat plane before reaching a vista of a small valley with a beautiful river.  I had been walking at a steady pace for about an hour now, realising that I had chosen a path that the boys had not.  I did not mind as I had ample time to descover what lied in front of me.  As I went down this sandy path, the path seemed to split and divide into many paths, with none really more apparent than the next.  I chose to go straight forward and tried as hard as I could to remember  which way i went for the journey home.  The more the paths split the more I realised that my journey was to be a little more interesting than I expected.

now and again, butterflies would fly in front of me, which would give me inspiration to keep going forward.  Then out in the middle of nowhere, I saw a couple of footprints.  Who could be walking out here along this track with bare feet?  There were no shoe prints to be found anywhere along this track, but every now and again, footprints would appear and the occasional lime peel dropped next to it.  These footprints gave me hope that the track I was following was at least followed by someone else in the past.  So I ventured forward. I eventually reached this beautiful river  with huge brown boulders and rocks scattered miscellaneously everywhere, and a redish yellowish water trickling down between the rocks.  small waterfalls were spontaneously scattered everywhere along its path making the most beautiful sound.  Dragonflies were buzzing, the butterflies would whisp in and out of view and the occasional rock spider would  run across the water.

I thought that I would take a chance and follow the river, go off track and see whether I could find the waterfall that the boys were looking for so that I could meet them there.  I slowly jumped from rock to rock, exploring the beautiful rock pools and the amazing energy of the place.  I had been away from the boys for well over two hours now, and slowly but surely making my way down this river.  I saw a beautiful spring and some lovely untouched natural forest  that engulfed me.  Many thoughts were going through my head, trying to utilise the  time in finding strength and meaning for my upcoming batizado.  I found so many similarities in the path that I was taking in what I was about to face in my grading.  From choosing the path less travelled, to deciding which rock to jump to next, my mind went through an amazing maze of  possibilities. I remembered the first time I started capoeira, to all of the many difficulties I had, to the many joyous moments.  I remenised on some of the highlights of my life, and the various people that had made it possible for me to be here.  All of you were in my thoughts along this beautiful journey.

It was around two oclock when  I reached a beautiful waterfall about six metres high.  All of the previous waterfalls were small and going in various directions.  This waterfall appeared to be crying golden water.  It was beautiful!, the roar of its power mixed with its absolute beauty and peace seemed to settle all of the polemic ideals in my life.  I went and bathed myself under its power.  Like a massage it took away all of the aches and pains of the past and refreshed my body and mind.  The sun had taken its toll as its heat beat down apon me with no remorse.  I had packed some apples and cashew nuts as well as some small bread buns which kept me tight.  I was running out of water though, as I only had half a bottle left, I tried to conserve it and be sensible about rationalizing. ??I had been walking for close to four hours now without sign of the boys.  My original plan was to find the waterfall and then find a track from there to lead me back to the  town.  I could not see any tracks from this waterfall which suprised me because of how beautiful it was.  I thought that everyone would have wanted to see this waterfall.  I had the choice of going forward to see if I could find any other waterfalls or whether to go back and find the path that I took to get here to go home.  I knew that there was a higher purpose for me to be where I was, I felt bambas presence in me, in where I was and what I was doing. 

All that went through my mind with every jump to another rock, was his voice saying ´you have to take risks´ because in life, if you dont risk you will never find your potential, you will never find what you are looking for.  He always said to me that everyone has potential, everyone has a greatness inside of them, but the difference between great people and everyone else is how they handle fear, how they handle risks, how they utilise the greatness that is within.  So I went forward. Knowing that very few people if any would have risked the path that I had chosen. ??It was coming close to three thirty and still no sign of any other waterfalls.  Every corner I went to, it would seem that just up ahead there was potential to be another waterfall. 

I could hear its voice but whenever I went to meet it, it was just another small waterfall leading into a series of other small waterfalls.  Indonesan nathans family song kept going through my head, which basically said in life you must always try to go forward and never go backwards, So I drove on, fighting time, fighting the thirst, fighting the sun.  In hope of a way home.  As it reached four oclock, I was clouded more and more with doubt,  the track was getting harder and harder to follow, as I was having to off cut the river sometimes and go up the sides through the trees and scrub, through the  spiderwebs and thorns to be able to pass some of the sides. ??As I was about to walk back, there in the middle of no where, four hours away, I saw a single footprint.  I had to go on.  i knew that there was more meaning in my journey.  As I went around the corner coming closer to rock climbing as the river started to cliff off, I eventually met my fate. 

There was no possible way to go forward anymore.  The cliffs were too high, the river dark  and dangerous, and the bush too dense.  It was in that moment I realised that sometimes to go forward, you must go backward.  I had been walking for almost six hours now, with about a quarter of a bottle of water left, I had no choice but to find another path home on the way back.  I knew that there was no possible way to make it back the way I came before dark.  I was certain of the choice I had made  to go back though, it was as if the river had told me where my limits were.  I had reached my potential and accepted it so that I could move forward. ??it was reaching five oclock now, knowing full well that it would reach dark by six.  On the way back I found that the river actually split into two, and a fork was infront of me.  Was I to follow the path that I was on, or should i risk following a new  path in the hope of finding a track, or possibly the waterfall that they boys would have gone to?   I went down the new path, running across the rocks, uncertain in where I was going and what I was doing.  I went up this beautiful path, into the denser parts of the forest. 

The sun was getting lower, casting beautiful shadows apon the rocks, with birds chirping and the sound of running water always in view.  The rock spiders were coming out, as it was getting darker, so many times I almost put my hand on them, as they blended in with the rocks, some were bigger than my hand, and I was starting to think about where I would sleep if I had to spend the night in the forest.  The river just kept going further up and up, deeper and deeper into the forest, with no apparent end.  I knew my fate was inevitable as I accepted that I had to go back. ??It was getting late, and I was trying to think of what I was about to face if I was to spend the night alone in this forest.  I finally reached the original river I was on, and started to follow it back up.  I knew that it was going to take me at least another two hours to get back to the original path I was on, and then another two to get home, by then it would be well dark and I would not be able to see anything.  I kept pushing forward, beginning to feel how dehydrated I really was, my legs burning and body exhausted from the amount of rock climbing and jumping I had been doing.

I reached the golden waterfall and saw a small clearing to its side I had not seen before.  Could it be a path?  it was small and dense with scrub, but I decided to take the chance.  I treached up the hill following this small dirt track, through the thorns and webs, and dense plants.  The more I followed this path, the more certain I was that it was an actual track.  I had lost complete orientation of where I was.  As I had been following this river that had been bending and twisting so I had no idea in which way to go.  The path eventually reached a point in where I had to choose left or right.  I went left, walking as fast as I could down this unknown track.  I started to hear the sound of a waterfall,  as I looked over the trees, I could see a massive waterfall that ran down a huge rocky terrain.  I couldnt beleive it! it was the waterfall I had been searching for!   it was five thirty and getting dark, I had no time to go and see it,  I figured that I was going the wrong way if I was going towards the waterfall, so I ran back along the path in whence I came.  The path however, started to go down more and more, and I realised that it was just going back to the river.  I ran back again, hoping to find another track on the way to the waterfall.  I found another three,  I was completely lost. Through trial and error, I finally reached a familiar ground.  I had found the track, and it was six oclock on the dot. 

The biggest smile eminated from my face, as it was getting quite dark , I knew that the adventure that I had taken was fate.  I had found my way home, I had found what I was looking for and so much more. I can tell you one thing, you havent experienced anything until you have been lost in a brazilian forest.

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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Joaninha Says:

    What a beautiful entry! This is an amazing read for someone who has never been to Brazil but definitely wants to (i.e. me), and I love the metaphor for capoeira of finding your way through the forest. This actually reminded me of some of the stories mestres write about in capoeira books, of things like the “spiritual journey” through capoeira. I hope you’ll write more soon!

  2. chan Says:

    thankyou very much joaninha,
    I really enjoy your site too, they are fresh and articulate. You know, its funny, I never really thought about moments in my life being a metaphor, but I would have to agree with you.
    thanks for your support.

  3. Janardha Says:

    I thought I wasnt going to like this blog but more I read the more I liked it.

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