An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of December 19, 2004
Issued from Hacienda Komchen de los Pájaros,
just outside Dzemul, Yucatán, MÉXICO

THE WINTER SOLSTICE
AS SEEN FROM MEXICO

In previous Newsletters at this season I've always made a big deal about the Winter Solstice, which occurs this Tuesday, December 21st. In the Northern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice marks the moment when days stop growing shorter and begin growing longer, and thus the new annual cycle begins. In years past I've especially treasured those moments a few days after the Solstice when I could actually feel the longer days, the unmistakable first sign that spring was really coming.

Here much closer to the Equator where every afternoon abundant sunlight gushes from the sky and the days don't feel particularly short, I've lost my Solstice feeling. Here a different system from spring, summer, fall and winter is in effect -- we have wet seasons and dry seasons. Here if there's "a beginning of the new annual cycle," it's the first big storm of the rainy season. Here the rainy season begins in May or June and lasts until the dry season starts up in October or November.

As during the northern spring, here when the rainy season returns the world will suddenly turn from brown to green, flowers will blossom everywhere and butterflies will issue forth to greet them.

So, I'm not regretting the loss of my Solstice Feeling, for something else has come along to take its place. That was then, and it was good, and this is now, and it's also good.

It's been like that at each of the many stations in the life I've lived. While I'm embedded in the routines, traditions and inertia of a particular manner of being, I'm reluctant to change. But, once I'm booted out of that life, or leave it because I need a change, I'm always glad.

In fact, I'm convinced that in every honest manner of being there's always something magical, something glorious to experience -- whether hermit campfires on frosty mornings or gyrating banana leaves at mid-day -- and always something significant worth looking for and celebrating. Facebook Icon.