JIM CONRAD'S
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
Issued from Rancho Regenesis
in the woods near Ek Balam Ruins north of Valladolid in
Yucatán, MÉXICO

SEPTEMBER 18, 2016

*****

DOG-MESSAGE BICYCLE
The Rancho's dogs greet me barking at the gate, accompanying me to the stone hut I'm staying in. As soon as I lean the bicycle against the wall the dogs begin sniffing its wheels. It's because in town the neighborhood dogs come one after the other to pee onto the bike's wheels. When the Rancho's dogs -- Sombra, Katarina and Chichan Ch'o' -- smell these other dogs' pees, they seem to be cast into a state of reverie. Their eyes widen and satisfied-seeming smiles come onto their faces. They don't seem at all upset with these other dogs' pees appearing in their territory. They remind me of myself as a kid, on our isolated Kentucky farm, retrieving from the little white mailbox along the gravel road a letter from a pen pal in a far-away country.

*****

LEAFCUTTER-ANT GUARD
I think I may have got my computer working again and slowly I'm trying to regain my earlier capabilities, such as providing links to photos, so below is the first picture taken during my residency here. Things will never be the same as earlier, since we have no electricity here or Internet, but by visiting places with those services, maybe we can start serving up more pictures. Or maybe not. I'm still figuring out how to adapt to this.

Anyway, leafcutter ants were defoliating an important Neem tree, so Juan cut the top and bottom from a plastic, 20-liter, purified-water jug, slit the resulting cylinder down the side so that the cylinder could be opened up to receive the Neem's trunk, set the cylinder around the trunk, and the system kept out the leafcutters. You can see how it looked at http://www.backyardnature.net/n/16/160918lc.jpg

*****

TICK TEACHINGS
The Rancho has cows and burros that browse each day in fenced-in woodland parcels, so we have a nice selection of ticks. One tick pulled from my armpit set a certain train of thought going. It reminded me that the Universal Creative Impulse is more interested in generating diversity with complex interrelationships among the diverse parts, than in the comfort or welfare of any one part of that creation – of me, for instance.

One reason ticks are especially good at bringing this to mind is that evolutionary biologists tell us that in terms of life cycles – and the genetic programming that structures these life cycles -- the most sophisticated of the Earth's organisms are the parasites. The human adaptation of a big, onboard computer inside a skull attached to hands, feet and reproductive organs almost seem quaint compared to the sly skipping from host to host of, say, the malaria-causing organism during its complex life cycle.

When we remember that ticks themselves sometimes are parasitized by organisms such as the one causing Lyme Disease, the teaching takes on added weight. One visualizes a meme of diversity begatting diversity, of the Creator joyously generating new creations as one idea leads to another, and it just doesn't matter if what's created discomforts or kills a few humans.

We humans have something good in return for this rough treatment, though. Right at this moment in human evolutionary development, we're also in diversity-begatting-diversity mode. For, every second on Earth, new thoughts and concepts are emerging among us humans, just as new gene configurations and mutations are arising in the biological world. Among us humans, whole new species of insights, inspirations and dogmas are being engendered as one thought leads to another. We who are living now are alive during what may someday be thought of as an Earthly Big Bang of evolving mentality. This idea is especially important when we see that the Universe appears to be evolving toward ever more sophisticated forms of life, with ever greater potential for thinking and feeling. At least here on Earth, we humans are elite evolvers.

So, beyond the fact that it's fun, what good does it do to think like this when a tick is pulled from an armpit? The first reason coming to my mind is that right now Life on Earth is threatened by human behavior that often can be explained only in terms of people believing that their deity will take care of them, if they're true believers.

“No,” my armpit tick says. “The Deity is interested in interconnected diversity evolving toward ever higher levels of sophistication much more than She is concerned with any person's individual comfort or welfare. If we are to be saved from our own self-destructive behaviors, we'll have to save ourselves.”

*****

Best wishes to all Newsletter readers,

Jim

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