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Jungle Juice

While walking to the train station, I find myself in a dense and very dark forest – barefoot with the moist, warm, and soft earth between my toes. The air smells gloriously fresh, and there are small, peculiar, never-before-seen insects doing a synchronized line dance on fern leaves.

Tiny people, the size of jellybeans, are gathering leaves to decorate themselves while enthusiastically singing Louis Armstrong songs. Three of these miniature people sing directly to me and when I attempt to sing back no sound comes forth. Since I cannot speak, I begin humming in my mind and they can hear it! I learn that drinking jungle juice is what allows them to communicate without words, and they teach me how to make it. Wanting to memorize the instructions so I can make juice when I return home, I repeat the recipe over and over to myself.

I look away for just a minute and the little people are now wearing vivid multi-colored long wrap skirts, tiny black motorcycle jackets with silver studs, helmets made of large heart-shaped leaves, black rimmed sun glasses, and flower bud shoes.

In a different part of the forest women are in a midwife ritual helping babies enter and helping the elderly at the end of this life exit and enter their next. The men lavishly sing the women’s praises. It is as if I have been transported to a secret clearing somewhere to witness a wonderfully obscure, mystical ritual. It is now time for me to depart the forest and make my way back to the train station.