Soundings

A longer view

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7107.553 (Published 30 August 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:553
  1. Colin Douglas, doctor and novelist
  1. Edinburgh

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    From the water's edge to the first ridge a densely forested slope averages one in three. There is no path, only an irregular open strip a few metres across and shoulder deep with clinging fern like vegetation. The air is still: moist and oppressively hot. Flies in their black thousands swarm and buzz, too multitudinous to swipe away. Under a searing sun we plod on.

    Onwards and upwards, one step at a time. Suddenly, discomfort turns to something worse. In a little clearing a couple of paces ahead a poisonous snake almost a metre long is coiled, tawny and zigzagged, its small bright eyes …

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