An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of August 3, 2007
issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Resere Headquarters in
Jalpan, Querétaro, MÉXICO

CLOUD WATCHING

Right over the next ridge to the east, where the slope plummets to the Gulf Coast lowlands, warm, moist air streams westward off the Gulf of Mexico over San Luis Potosí's steamy plantations, ranches and forests, and collides with the Eastern Sierra Madres. Wind rising up the slope gushes over the high rim -- that ridge beneath the deeply blue sky right east of me -- forming white clouds that self-absorbedly and majestically curl into themselves and surge like spumy ocean waves that barely splash across a barrier. And then, right above me, they dissipate into this side's drier air. It's hypnotic, in a sense more profound than being at the beach watching big waves, because the sky is even more enormous than the sea, and more threatening with its deeper mysteries.

I've been watching clouds the whole day. When I arrived here early this morning it'd just stopped raining and the whole valley was choked with dingy cloud-fog. But by 10:00 AM it was starting to clear and by noon the entire sky was blue, except for a few white clouds peeping over that eastern ridge. At 3 PM the theater described above began, then around 4 PM the first thunder sounded, and by 6 PM it was raining. It rained most of the night, a most peaceful rain very homey sounding all around my tent.

Some busy souls might condemn my wasting so much time looking at clouds, thinking about them, letting my own feelings ebb and flow with them, until in the darkness that night I feel like rain myself sweeping through the forest, fogging up the little glen, my dreams and the day's cloud-workings all becoming the same thing.

But, I say there are paradigms to be impressed with in cloud-doings, music to be heard and understood, and thoughts and feelings to be received from across the mountain crest. There are parts inside me that would never be loosened and rearranged were it not for big-hearted instruction and big-handed example-making of the kind moist clouds overtopping mountain ranges are capable of.

And what paradigms do I mean? For example, the way a daylong cloud-theater resolves into an evening rain needed by the whole community. The way there's a dance between morning's diffuse fog, midday's intense contrasts, and the night's rain of abstractions. How an alert soul feels so good just looking at the sky, which has significance just in itself.

In the end, it all comes down to figuring out what we humans are put here on Earth for. I've already told you my theory about us living things being "nerve endings" of the self-exploring Universal Creative Force. We're put on Earth in order to FEEL things, to explore Creation's every tiny nook and cranny, to conjecture, to imagine, to love and hate, to be giddy with desire, and to be car-sick and lonely sometimes -- do all those things the Universal Creative Force Herself can't do just because She's so everything, everyplace, all the time. She needs us partly-aware creatures to see things from skewed perspectives denied to an Omnipresent Entity.

Really, I can't make sense of it at all unless it's simply that: We're supposed to live, and experience. Facebook Icon.