At a small table in a green room at an estancia in the province of Chaco, Argentina, 6 men sat around a table drinking 7-UP. They had driven in a few hours earlier from Patagonia and Paraguay and immediately a torrential rain had started. The first 30 minutes of downpour had sprayed their faces on the porch and even as they filled their glasses at the table, hi-volt lightning made silhouettes of the palm trees outside.
Among them were farmers, investors, and scientists. They talked of green rings on grasslands and tree trunks wide enough that you could floor your house with timber from just one of them. They talked of woods on a mountain so thick that to cultivate the land you can only enter, first, with machines. (The scientist asked them if they had considered silvo-pasturing). A small black moth landed on a glass; a large yellow one flew too close to the ceiling lamp and created shadows on the wall. Conversation turned to how to create earth (bio-organisms) and how to create money (loans of $1- guarani- with 24% interest). Much interest hovered around how, in Paraguay’s chaco, you can grow carrots with the girth of a two-week piglet.
When the men had bid each other good night - after first discussing their morning exercise habits - I slipped off to my green bedroom and found two frogs in my bathroom. One was small and silent; the other was large and chirping. I caught the big one and put it outside. When I returned to my room, lightning lit up the sky outside.