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The Gap Year Blog

A Final Testimony

19 Nov 2019 12:05 PM

Mangrove conservation is vital in coastal areas such as Belize. Here is a moving poem on of our volunteers has written about the plight of this delicate and endangered ecosystem.

By the time you read this, we’ll be long gone;

But don’t worry - all that blooms must decay, and all that thrives must die.

We just thought you might want to know what you missed this time round.

One day, you too will write this note, to tell the story of your day in the sun.

About the time that will never end. But the sun must set; the story must finish and a new book must start with different charters, and different intentions to our own must take the stage; and in the drying embers of our sun's final hours, we write this note to whoever is next.

I hope you thrive as much as we did.

We were a team of three, a triplet in perfect harmony. Without the others, the individual was lost in a sea of unsuitability. All three were ready at dawn.

The light hit us and for the first time our roots sprang down into the sea,

Commanding the sediment to stay still, forming the island out of the waves.

Fish meandered through our roots, cloud like colonies moving in unity to the Ebbs and flows of the seas. Needlefish stalked the surface, waiting for an insect's fall from grace and pelicans dived down into the sea, hoping to catch a fish for tea.

Below the reach of the root systems lay the meadows, another member of the trio. Holding its own sediment down while reaching out for the sun.

Rays and sharks alike rested within the blades in the midday sun, while dolphins danced through the waves and fish fed on the algae. Further out still were the reefs, an underwater metropolis, a hive of activity. As corals beckoned towards the sun, the reef became taller and taller until the waves themselves crashed upon them. This calmed the waters, for the meadows and roots eased their strains, which in turn brought more nourishment to our reef. Lobsters fed upon the algae that threatened to starve the coral, and fish fed upon fish that fed upon fish that fed upon coral.

As the midday sun shone down on us, we saw it was good.

Everything was present, everything was equal, everything was thriving.

Our beauty did not go unnoticed.

The more we thrived, the more creatures we attracted, coming for our resources and admiring our beauty. But, like many things, our beauty was formed on balance - take too much from one and the trio falls down. But our beauty was too entrancing, and the creatures wanted more. They burnt our roots to be near our seas; they dredged our meadows to see our creatures; and, one by one, our creatures abandoned us, like a individual cog in a grand machine, without which the machine refuses to run.

As our roots were cleared to make way for more creatures, our sands became unstable, eroding the ground on which they placed their foundations. Our waters became murky with sediment, blocking out the sun for our meadows.

As our meadows began to starve, we knew we were losing our balance. But we were young and naive - the sun wasn’t going to set on us.

But the seeds of our destruction had been sown and once they’d taken root there was no going back.

The creatures didn’t stop expanding. Our seas were being plundered, our roots were taken from us, our meadows were being uprooted and our reefs were being poisoned.

Our beauty was fading and the love that was once there for us was now depleted; we no longer had the respect of the creatures profiting off of us and we were powerless to stop it.

Without noticing it the sun had almost set, it sat on the horizon waiting for us to notice it, and we did.

So here we are at the end of the page, at the end of our time in the sun. As our last roots are burnt, as our last meadows are dredged and as our last coral bleaches, we write these words to you. Our final testimony before we fade from existence. We can’t complain, it was a good day and our time is our time, there is nothing that can change that. We just wish you could have seen us at our best. When we danced in the sun.

By the time you read this we’ll be long gone.

But we were here and you will miss us.

By Joshua Bromberg - Frontier Belize Volunteer

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservationcommunityteaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!