An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of December 29, 2008
Written at Mayan Beach Garden Inn 20 km north of Mahahual
on the Yucatán Peninsula's eastern coast just north of the Belize border,
in the state of Quintana Roo, MÉXICO

WIND

I've slept in my tent on the beach every night since I've been here. This week it's been particularly windy, causing my tent's nylon walls and rainfly to shake and flap all night long. Awakening in the night I hear waves crashing and the Chit Palms' semi-brittle fronds clacking and scraping against one another. Whooshing, whistling wind piles sand against my tent's windward side. Rain showers come and go all night peppering the nylone. On Christmas Eve a tremendous roar during a storm awoke me. Marcia the hotel owner says it sounded like a waterspout hitting the beach, though it did no damage.

At dawn, particularly large, long-bodied mosquitoes encrust my tent. Toward the east, slate-gray, raggedy clouds with rain beneath them march toward shore shepherding rank after rank of silvery, choppy waves before them, offshore currents deflecting the waves downshore. While packing my tent I see in the sand that crabs have left leg-scribblings all around.

Carrying stuff to the hotel before starting my jog, my head reverberates with wind-roar/ tent-flapping/ wave-oscillating-and-crashing/ frond-scraping/ purple- cloud-oncoming sensations and those crab scribblings in shifting sand might as well have been hysterical, cuneiform script expressing my own effervescing, unanchored state of mind.

On that walk back to the hotel, every morning I am visited with the following insight, or revelation: That in this life any sense of security or permanency is dubious, if not outright illusionary.

But, as soon as I understand this, like a reflex, I also ask myself of what good it does to have insights like this. Usually by the time the hotel's dogs run to greet me I've forgotten why I'm thinking about revelations in the first place.

I'm just glad to have awakened on such a gorgeous morning, to have slept through a whole other windy night, and to have dogs so happy to see me, just because it's a new day, and we're all feeling pretty good and still liking one another. Facebook Icon.