An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of June 27, 2004
written in the woods not far east of Natchez, Mississippi, USA

SITTING IN THE RAIN NAKED

One morning this week my campfire breakfast was interrupted by rain. It was a warm rain and I was wearing no more than jogging shorts, so I just slipped them off and sat in the rain naked. A sheet of tin over my fire kept breakfast going. It was nice sitting there feeling the rain on my back, and I don't think my breakfast, which consisted of fried eggs fixed with cayenne pepper, onion and garlic topped with juicy tomato -- all produce from the garden -- between two hot slabs of cornbread, could have been better. With a steamy mug of spearmint tea in one hand and my sandwich in the other, I listened to Public Radio's Morning Edition (I'm a dues-paying member of Mississippi Public Radio).

Sitting there hearing how the world was going, I just had to wonder if maybe someday soon each morning little twig-fire smokes like mine might be announcing breakfasts all across the landscape. But instead of those smokes rising from beside isolated hermits rather enjoying themselves, they will be announcing clusters of desperate folks banded together for mutual defense and mutual support, and they'll be burning twigs because the energy grid will be destroyed. Of course, if things get bad, I won't be much better off than anyone else. A garden can be robbed as easily as a store, and mushrooms, while tasty, don't provide many calories.

I'm glad that I was born when I was, and that I've lived life the way I have. If I'd been born earlier I'd never have had access to the scientific knowledge that now reveals just how huge, complex and utterly intricately interconnected and beautiful the Universe is. I think my awe of the Creator must be greater than was ever possible for anyone who thought that the Sun, Moon and stars were just points of light suspended in the air not far overhead, and that living things were no more than what they looked like, instead of being evolving creations perpetually struggling toward ever higher levels of sophistication and self realization.

On the other hand, by living when I have, I've also experienced natural wonders that now are irretrievably lost to future generations (pristine coastlines, vast rainforests, mountain valleys before stripmining), and I've peacefully traveled in places where now it would be deadly to visit. None of today's young people will ever see or experience much of what I have, and I just wonder how that will affect them, how it will leave them less appreciative of the Creation and of life in general than I have grown to be.

I hope my forebodings about what's about to happen to this world are wrong. However, if I'm right, then all I can hope is that the next generation of folks sitting naked in the rain next to their little twig-fires may occasionally enjoy their breakfasts as much as I do now. Facebook Icon.