An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of January 5, 2009
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

SEA-GARBAGE SPIRITUALITY

After picking up garbage for a couple of hours I plop down just beyond the waves' reach. The sand is hot, the wind furious, the waves hypnotic, and the sea profound in a way that takes into account the fact that Life on Earth arose in the sea. And most of the Earth's oxygen, possibly as much as 90%, is produced by microorganisms photosynthesizing within the top 100 meters of ocean water.

On the beach you feel tiny and powerless compared to the sea and the problems facing it. How are you to react? When you know that you could spend the rest of your life picking up beach garbage without really making a noticeable difference, why bother to pick up the relatively tiny bit right around you?

That's where it gets interesting: As I sit looking into the ocean, SOMETHING makes clear that I do need to pick up garbage, even if there seems to be no rational reason for doing so. The sea sends a non- verbal but unmistakably clear message that to simply walk past garbage on the beach is not an act worthy of an enlightened, sensitized human.

The sea conveys her messages the same way and with the same power as does the open sky at night, they eyes of a newborn child, a healthy forest or marsh busy being itself, or any other robust, complex, beautiful natural instance.

In this context, and accepting Nature as "the written Word of God," listening to what the sea says becomes a spiritual communion. And picking up trash along the beach becomes a ceremony of acceptance of the wisdom you have been given. Facebook Icon.