JIM CONRAD'S
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
Issued in Río Lagartos, on the northern coast of
Yucatán, MÉXICO
in Ría Lagartos Biosphere Reserve

July 5, 2015

Peten Mac, Rio Lagartos, Yucatan
Petén Mac

WALKING TO PETÉN MAC
Friday as I finished this week's Newsletter, my computer crashed exactly as it did two weeks earlier, another Microsoft Update. I lost this week's writing and pictures, plus all other personal data on the computer. Therefore, this Newsletter is different.

That day, when usually I'd have been finishing the Newsletter, I took a walk east along Río Lagartos's Malecón, to Petén Mac. A nice breeze blew off the water. The warm, fishy-smelling air was salty-soft humid, and a cloudy, rainy-season sky suggested an afternoon storm. The water and mangroves were green. Out in the estuary, three flamingo-viewing boats came in with grinning passengers ghoulishly gray-white from drying-out mud smeared over their bodies during the Maya Mud Bath, an optional part of the flamingo tour package.

I thought that maybe this loss of my computer was beginning something new for me. Maybe it was a good time to take stock, and philosophize.

Walking down the Malecón, wind off the water flapping in my ears, it seemed that at this particular moment in my life the message I need to pass along -- if any messaging is needed -- is one that would firm up my credentials as a crackpot. But, I'm going on 68 years old now, and somehow don't care about that. All my instincts tell me that the message I'm thinking about is appropriate.

However, it's a message that can't be conveyed with usual language stated in linear sentences. The message, like Nature Herself, is structured like a web, with the central point making sense only if approached from various perspectives.

So, all we living things are machines programmed by our genes and societies -- societies also structured according to collective gene expression -- to struggle for existence and to reproduce, plus there's a little extra. Eating is fun because we have to take in calories to fuel our machines, just like cars need gas, but in us living things there's this extra thing: The ability, sometimes, to override the demands of our programming, and to have feelings about what we're doing as we're doing it.

Nature is an evolving, opening blossom. We living things are part of that blossoming. Esthetically, the parts of a flower all seem right exactly as they are because in some mysterious way the parts harmonize with one another. In such a way, the human may struggle for harmony with the blossoming he or she is part of.

Thinking like this, and giving a nod to the conservative societies I've been enmeshed in most of my life, I'm compelled to rephrase things like this: "Sins" include such traits as willing ignorance, mental laziness, conscious self-deception, and resisting change just for the sake of resisting change. Living lives of "righteousness" involves consciously developing one's sensibilities, thinking hard about what seems to be going on around us, and adapting our lives to any insights we may come up with.

Nature taught me this, for this is the way Nature is put together. She always struggles toward greater diversity and complexity, and toward evolving beings with ever more exquisite adaptations, senses and perceptions. In Nature, the uninformed, out-of-date, weak and stupid give way to the alert, the innovative, the strong and the smart.

Evolving, self-refining Nature presents Herself as trees and birds, but really what's evolving is the information in the genes that direct how trees and birds are put together. It's good to take note of how these interacting tones of information in trees and birds harmonize to make sacred music.

Another way to look at it is that we living things are nerve endings of the self-monitoring, evolving Creator. As such, our job as living things is to feel and to be touched in ways that cause emotions and esthetic buzzes that feed back to the Creator.

The Creator is a musician, and we things of Nature are all notes and melodies. By feeling this music inside us, we can sense the Creator's temperament and way of thinking. Once we see how we ourselves contribute to the Symphony, something magical happens inside us, compelling us to want to harmonize with all the rest of what's going on. When we harmonize, we feel better, and it's prettier. When we harmonize, love happens, and from love blossoms empathy, and the desire to protect what's producing the music around us.

Nature teaches that the Creator has a passion for diversity, interconnectedness and refinement. However, humans are so different from one another -- because we've been created in the context of this passion for diversity -- that these insights I am expressing strike each person differently.

These words are not preaching but rather singing, to be interpreted by each listener in his or her own way.

The mangroves constitute a big machine filtering water, spewing out oxygen, and nurturing all kinds of critters, including us humans. So many genetic codes are interacting and affecting one another here that the music they make is profound, deeply touching, and instructional.

This is what I thought on Friday, when I reached Petén Mac, after my computer had crashed.

*****

By the way, on Saturday I received a patch from Toshiba, my computer's manufacturer, specifically to fix issues with Microsoft Windows 8.1, which is installed on my computer. It seems to have ended my computer problems, but material for this week's planned Newsletter still is lost.

*****

Best wishes to all Newsletter readers,

Jim

All previous Newsletters are archived at http://www.backyardnature.net/n/.