Morning in Borneo is a wonderful thing. Within minutes, the dark sky turns pale, and then the sun rises, its heat hitting the ground like a sledgehammer. And the calls of the monkeys and birds change from quiet, calming night-time noises to the raucous territorial claims of hornbills and gibbons.
I was there with some colleagues on a team-building exercise. There was my boss, Christine. She was supposed to be the team leader and team builder, but we all hoped she would learn that shouting and denigration do not help to build teams in the humid, sweltering heat of mid-day in Kalimantan. There was me, the deputy. Christine relied on me to patch up her mistakes, to heal the wounds she caused through her aggressive, bullying behaviour. She was weak, but wanted to show strength, and the only way she knew how was by using her power to keep us subdued.
It was the end of a long day in the jungle. We had hiked twenty k's in the strength-sapping humidity. We city-folk, pretending to be explorers, wanting to prove to the assessors and to ourselves that years of white wine and tube travel were the ideal training for jungle warfare. The sky was turning dark, and we knew there were just a few minutes of daylight left before we were forced to bring out the torches and GPS systems to find our way to the hut. Just a few minutes before those calming night-time noises became threatening, frightening carnivorous monsters, hiding behind every tree. A few moments until we waited for each step to bring the double-fanged strike of tropical snakes and biting insects.
Suddenly, Christine took the binoculars, and pointed west, toward the setting sun. A cloud of darkness was spreading from a cave in the rocks. The darkness was split into tiny specks of black, merging imperceptably into the evil cloud. This was not night. It was the terror of the jungle coming down from the cliffs to swallow us and absorb us into the legends of death and destruction in the rainforest.
Richard, our accounts manager, is always the pessimist. He took one look at this terrifying swarm, and prayed his last. Wei Wing, the sales manager sees the bright side of life. She declared that things would be better in the morning once we had returned to the hut, drunk a few beers and then slept.
Alan, the IT manager, looked at one of the silhouettes coming toward us and declared, 'The glass is neither half-full nor half-empty. It's a fruitbat!' And indeed, he was right. The swarm of fruitbats led us straight back to the groves of durian trees around the hut, inside which we found beers on ice and warm showers to cleanse our tired bodies.
When we got home, Christine was a changed woman. She became a true team builder, thanks to that experience deep in the Borneo jungle.
This is a nodeshell challenge, dedicated to Frankie