It was a cold bleak Yorkshire day.

It was a cold bleak Yorkshire day.

Heavy rain clouds hung on the horizon threatening a torrential downpour but we decided against the rainproofs. The sun was already blistering; the air so heavy with moisture that you could bathe in it. If it rained it would be a relief. We’d be soaked but our shorts and T-shirts would soon dry off. We set off along the rainforest trail to the music of cicadas and unseen birds.

The forest has a sweet scent of decay and vitality. Everywhere there is green – green leaves, green fronds, green lianas and green epiphytes. It feels alive. We are strangers in a new fecund world. We are searching for animals, our cameras at the ready. We find some too.

By the end of two weeks we have photographed sloths, iguanas, turtles, agoutis, parrots, macaws, flycatchers, monkeys, caiman, butterflies, moths and dozens more – each a delight to discover and a wonder to see. We have watched spider monkeys at play and capuchin monkeys cracking open coconuts, sloths slowly clambering through the foliage and huge iguanas, like dragons, clinging to tree trunks.

It felt so alive.

Our skin rusted in the sun and humidity. Our bodies adjusted, sitting on deck watching the jungle slip past, with a cool breeze in our face; rushing to put on our scant clothing to scamper up to the top for the sunrise, to search the deck at first light for giant moths, butterflies and beetles; sorting where to go, down jungle trails, canoe rides, or simply walking around. When in the unfamiliar even the ordinary is extraordinary. It is amazing how quickly one adjusts. This is our new normality.

Slowly we return home. The sun gradually loses its intensity. People take every opportunity to relish the last of its warmth, some asleep on loungers, some reading, some watching the seas for whales, dolphins or seabirds. We have left the tropical heat behind.

Back home we unpack, start on the mound of washing and go for a walk. No shorts, T-shirt and sandals but wrapped in layers of shirts, jumpers and thick coat topped off with hats, scarves and gloves.

Walking down the lane, looking out over the waterlogged green fields I could not help thinking what a mess we’ve made of it. This was the green Yorkshire countryside. Before the industrial revolution a landscape of forest, full of wildlife, now an endless denuded green desert, with just the odd crow and pigeon, plus a few creatures clinging on in the remaining hedgerows.

We live in the vestiges of the wonder of what once was. All over the world 8 billion mouths are busy devouring miracles.

Even in my lifetime I have seen the decline.

The bitter wind bites into my face. Rust is fading as the memories fade, as nature fades, tree by tree, hedge by hedge, ditch by ditch, bug by bug.

I have no camera with me. There is little to photograph. The creatures of my youth have disappeared.

It was a cold bleak Yorkshire day.

It was a cold bleak Yorkshire day.

It was a cold bleak Yorkshire day.

Heavy rain clouds hung on the horizon threatening a torrential downpour but we decided against the rainproofs. The sun was already blistering; the air so heavy with moisture that you could bathe in it. If it rained it would be a relief. We’d be soaked but our shorts and T-shirts would soon dry off. We set off along the rainforest trail to the music of cicadas and unseen birds.

The forest has a sweet scent of decay and vitality. Everywhere there is green – green leaves, green fronds, green lianas and green epiphytes. It feels alive. We are strangers in a new fecund world. We are searching for animals, our cameras at the ready. We find some too.

By the end of two weeks we have photographed sloths, iguanas, turtles, agoutis, parrots, macaws, flycatchers, monkeys, caiman, butterflies, moths and dozens more – each a delight to discover and a wonder to see. We have watched spider monkeys at play and capuchin monkeys cracking open coconuts, sloths slowly clambering through the foliage and huge iguanas, like dragons, clinging to tree trunks.

It felt so alive.

Our skin rusted in the sun and humidity. Our bodies adjusted, sitting on deck watching the jungle slip past, with a cool breeze in our face; rushing to put on our scant clothing to scamper up to the top for the sunrise, to search the deck at first light for giant moths, butterflies and beetles; sorting where to go, down jungle trails, canoe rides, or simply walking around. When in the unfamiliar even the ordinary is extraordinary. It is amazing how quickly one adjusts. This is our new normality.

Slowly we return home. The sun gradually loses its intensity. People take every opportunity to relish the last of its warmth, some asleep on loungers, some reading, some watching the seas for whales, dolphins or seabirds. We have left the tropical heat behind.

Back home we unpack, start on the mound of washing and go for a walk. No shorts, T-shirt and sandals but wrapped in layers of shirts, jumpers and thick coat topped off with hats, scarves and gloves.

Walking down the lane, looking out over the waterlogged green fields I could not help thinking what a mess we’ve made of it. This was the green Yorkshire countryside. Before the industrial revolution a landscape of forest, full of wildlife, now an endless denuded green desert, with just the odd crow and pigeon, plus a few creatures clinging on in the remaining hedgerows.

We live in the vestiges of the wonder of what once was. All over the world 8 billion mouths are busy devouring miracles.

Even in my lifetime I have seen the decline.

The bitter wind bites into my face. Rust is fading as the memories fade, as nature fades, tree by tree, hedge by hedge, ditch by ditch, bug by bug.

I have no camera with me. There is little to photograph. The creatures of my youth have disappeared.

It was a cold bleak Yorkshire day.