I’m reading a book loaned to me by an old-timer entitled Adam with Arrows (1953), about the first contact by the white Australian administration with the natives of the Menya area. Twenty pages in I’ve already read about sorcery, tribal raiding parties, and cannibalism. I thought the author’s description of PNG’s landscape was both accurate and entertaining:
“After flying from one end of New Guinea to the other the impression was that cosmic hands, shaping it, could have made it the largest island in the world instead of the second largest, with so much material. But, the outline done, the rest was just dumped down the middle as mountains, more mountains for its size than any island in the world has, and watered with more rain. Hence the clouds, hence the green pyramids of mountains that hardly ever pointed to a blue sky. Sometimes the clouds hanging in the valleys and wreathing over the tops of the mountains were like steam from an Earth that hadn’t cooled off yet.
There was always this feeling that in New Guinea the time still wasn’t much later than the morning after creation–and that this island’s creating had been a last, hurrying job of throwing together a wilderness too ruggedly wild and wet and careless to be an Eden.
God made New Guinea on Saturday night.”