Intent on seeing some wildlife and a good sunrise, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and swiftly got ready. I packed my bags, left my suitcase at the door, and stepped out into the pitch-black Thai forest. Backpack in place, I walked into the darkness. The cool air skimmed past my face as I walked on, the dawn getting closer with every step. I made it to the pier, which was a winding path 20 feet above the river and snaked its way to a circular platform over the water. I stepped off the dirt path and onto the planks that formed the viewing area. They creaked beneath my feet as I walked to the edge. I grasped the cold wet metal rail and peered over. As I waited, the dawn began to reveal the details of the riverbanks.
The mist danced inches above the flowing water, the plants and trees slowly moved in tune with the breeze, and the floating houses rocked quietly on the water’s edge. With a rooster’s crow, my hearing came to life: trickling water from a nearby stream, grasshoppers playing their strings together in time, leaves rustling, and my own feet making a beat walking across the hollow boards. I saw that the restaurant had turned its lights on. I left the place of serenity with my camera, for the first time, not in my hand. It would almost be a crime to try to fit within a viewfinder what can hardly be captured with the eyes.