An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of April 14, 2002
issued from the woods just west of Natchez, Mississippi, USA

MOMENTS OF PERFECTION

This week the world has been fresh and vibrant. Showers came and went leaving plants sparkling in spring sunlight, birds put on shows, new flowers blossomed every day, it was neither too hot nor too cold, and the mosquitoes weren't bad. The big Pecan trees above my trailer now sprout leaves and dense, dark clusters of catkins of male flowers. Bugs swarm among the catkins eating pollen and worms attack the succulent new leaves, so birds rush from branch to branch eating bugs and caterpillars. On Saturday morning several Orchard Orioles and Baltimore Orioles, both bright-orange-and-black species freshly arrived from the tropics, along with some warblers and woodpeckers, made a gaudy circus above me.

Some afternoons white-topped thunderheads built up, and sometimes I just had to escape from the computer and go watch how the clouds' towering tops billowed into the dark-blue sky. There's power and purpose in these enormous, rumbling, dark-bottomed clouds. The binoculars show how edges of the cloud boil and seethe and you can imagine the howling, cold winds and mighty electrical charges at play inside the clouds. But then take down the binoculars and there's just pretty white against pretty blue, and perhaps later there will be a pleasant shower.

Right before dusk there's a fresh spurt of activity among the birds and I walk along the woods' edges looking into the interiors of trees lighted by low-slanting sunlight. What a pleasure just seeing the colors of birds and butterflies in these theaters of glowing green leaves and black limbs gilded with orange sunlight.

If I had a million dollars I could never purchase the pleasure and contentment I have enjoyed for free during this single past week. Facebook Icon.