When I was a young boy I dreamt of other planets in far flung solar systems in our galaxy. I would draw pictures for hours of what I thought alien life might look like and try to imagine civilizations that may have evolved to our level of technology or beyond. I would build starships out of loose leaf paper and plastic utensils and fly them through my house and out into the backyard. As I grew older these musings faded, but never died.
I confess I still have some of those starships in an old trunk, and every now and then when no one is around, I take them out for a flight around the room and picture myself traveling to one of the countless planets that fill the Milky Way. The alien life I imagined as a child has expanded, but in ways I could never have dreamed of when I was very young. I have had the good fortune and privilege to travel the world, learn about other cultures and encounter wildlife up close. I began to realize that I did not have to travel to a distant world to see alien life. It was all around me, and it was wondrous.
According to a growing number of scientists, we are in the grips of the Sixth Mass Extinction; and, sadly, we can only guess how many incredible life forms have been eliminated by the rapacity and carelessness of industrial civilization. Hundreds more species go extinct every day, and it is likely that our own may be on that list in the future, given our trajectory and penchant for self-destruction. But I have compiled a humble collection of some of the creatures my partner and I encountered on our numerous journey’s to Central America. And I wanted to put them on the record and share them here.
Please keep in mind that I am not a biologist so I will not attempt to identify any of the insects, plants or animals with scientific names. This is merely a photo essay to register their marvelous existence on this planet. I hope they fascinate you and enliven your imagination and sense of wonder as they do mine.
Kenn Orphan 2015