An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of jULY 25, 201O
Issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort adjoining Chichén Itzá Ruin in
YUCATÁN, MÉXICO

ROBINS FALL SILENT

I've mentioned how for months the Clay-colored Robins' pre-dawn to after-dusk, ever varying, sometimes echoic or chiming song-phrases filtered through my hut's pole walls, their notes mingling with music played on my computer, and with my own whistling. For months these songs created a shimmering musical ocean engulfing my hut-ship, texturing everything I did, thought and felt. Sometimes I've felt like an incidental little melody merely wandering through this monumental, effervescing rainbow of sound.

This week, the robins' nesting season over, the singing has ended. A few calls linger here and there, especially their special mewing at dusk, but there's no doubt that the grand performance is over. Melodious Blackbirds have become the most conspicuous callers with their liquid but relatively mechanical WHEE-choo, WHEE-choo, WHEE-choos, but, it's not the same.

At least while the robins sang I was smart enough to know that something magical was going on. I took pains to listen closely every day, and to be thankful. I said to a friend in the darkened hut one evening just after dusk, "Listen to the robins, for you'll never hear anything like this again, and you'll never feel as keenly and lovingly about a robin's song and a night's darkness as we're feeling about them here, right now... "

Already that night I was filled with a powerful longing for the robins' song cycle to begin over again, in fact for everything happening those days to start all over so I could concentrate on every detail and fleeting nuance of statement and deed with even greater intensity than I had up until then. But, of course, even if it had started over, I'm always too much of a blockhead to fully grasp and hold what's being offered. And now, finally, it really has ended.

Just how do you deal with losing something as grand and majestic as all that?

Sometimes my Maya shaman friend José tells me about his dreams, like the one where he saw four bright and different-colored pyramids floating in the sky, and at breakfast as we scoop chilied bean paste into our folded tortillas he tells me about the Mayas' cycles within cycles and how the cycles are immutable, but the plants and animals populating the cycles have their own paths, sometimes giving the illusion that the cycles are broken, but that's what it is, illusion, and we humans must conduct appropriate ceremonies and live correctly for the cycles to cycle most beautifully, and then I see that he already knows what I'm learning like a baby for the first time, about the cycles, the cycles within cycles, their beauty and eternalness and the attention they deserve, and require, if we are to live honorably and be sane.

So, that's how I cope with losing the robins' songs. The robins' song cycle will return again next spring, even if I am not here. Meanwhile, there's the cycle of which the rainy season is part, crescendoing to its most effusive, violent expression in September, after which it'll trail off through November or so, and its rebirth will mesh with the robins' returning song cycle, the singing coming with the rain. Plus there are cycles in the garden, in the forest, cycles of migrating birds in the sky, and of ceremonies that must be attended, and cycles within myself, cycles of lucidness, of creativity, of yearning and of dreaming.

And maybe even there are cycles I don't know about that will bring back that friend to whom I said, "Never again... " Facebook Icon.