An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of June 2, 2007
Issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve Headquarters in
Jalpan, Querétaro, MÉXICO

TADPOLE THOUGHTS

lots of tadpoles

Once again this week hoards of tadpoles impressed me with their sheer numbers, as shown above.

Those tadpoles were in a green pool just outside my tent door, and on the afternoon of my arrival at that site I watched them for hours migrating back and forth across the pool, an unhurried black stain diffusing through the greenness like a dusky fragrance filtering through a forest.

That same day I'd been inside a butterfly megaflutter, I'd walked miles through frogfruit-mantled mudflats overly supplied with tiny toads, I'd walked for hours along the lake's shore filling my head with birdsong, the sound of wind flapping in my ears and waves lapping at the shore's edge, walking, walking, walking, the backpack creaking, binoculars thumping against my chest and sweat from beneath the backpack running down the crack in my butt, white clouds, blue sky, the fishy, muddy odor of fresh wind off a lake...

I met several families picnicking along the shore, the men usually fishing with throw-lines, the women usually sitting in the grass with kids all around. Most people just smiled, said "Buenos tardes" as I walked by, but one man wanted to talk. He asked me what state I was from. I was born in Kentucky, I said. "Tobacco," he said. "Tabaco y caballos," I replied -- tobacco and horses, and by saying this I showed I knew how to talk in the world the man occupied. Tobacco and horses are work Mexicans do in Kentucky. If I'd said "Florida," the man would have said "Oranges." Usually it's like that, the US a mosaic of kinds of jobs to be had; For most people everything else up there doesn't  really matter so much, no, not that much.

The man's fingers were thick, his hands calloused, his muscles hard, and his wife while not pretty and with a little fat pooching over her belt exuded womanly essence, wholesome but voluptuous femininity, a pretty thing for a man to look at there in the grass, so good to the kids.

That day, the tadpoles, butterflies, birdsong, wind, sunlight, tobacco and horses, muscular men and voluptuous women all mingled in my mind, somehow all being the same thing, one kaleidoscopic, polytonal, pungent thing, something vigorous, sensuous, ravishing, gladsome. Facebook Icon.