El Bosque Eterno de Los Niños holds a very special place in my family’s heart.
Soon after our 10-year-old son Jonathan died in March of 1992, struck by a car as he walked home from the nearby public library, we received a letter from the Monteverde Conservation League notifying us that his school’s parent association had made a donation to the BEN in his memory. The parents hoped “to save an acre of precious rain forest in memory of our beloved Jonathan Howe so that life may continue to flourish in his name as his spirit does in our hearts.”
The Howe Children in 1991 at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens
Jonathan was happiest when he was outside, going on family hikes, and exploring local streams, ponds, and beaches. He was fascinated by all aspects of nature. He loved animals. One of his first drawings was of a seal that he had seen at the Mystic Aquarium. Another was of a fish. How deeply comforting it was to know that the BEN would be enlarged slightly by that donation, that an irreplaceable area sustaining so much life, was to be preserved in his name. We imagined his nature-loving spirit being thrilled by the awesome beauty and variety of life there.
We told ourselves at the time that someday we would visit the BEN. We finally had the chance to do so in July 2005. The trip felt like a pilgrimage, like a journey to a sacred place. We spent hours hiking in the BEN, lead by dedicated and knowledgeable guides who pointed out innumerable wonders of nature in the surrounding flora and fauna. Our hearts were filled with amazement, love, and hope for continued healing after his loss. We felt Jonny's inquisitive spirit accompanying us, teasing us as he liked to do, asking “What to you so long to come here? And aren’t you glad you did?” Yes, we were indeed delighted to have spent time in the BEN!
- Written by Rainforest friend, Simone Howe.