An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of February 20, 2011
Issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort adjoining Chichén Itzá Ruin in
YUCATÁN, MÉXICO

WAITING FOR TOUCANS

In late afternoon a friend and I sit in grass beside a Chinese Banyan hoping toucans will come and feed. The ground is chilly and moist but the grass is emerald green, the kind of greenness possible only with lots of watering and heat. In the sunlight, translucent grassblades glow almost violently while beneath them starkly contrasting black shadows impart to the lawn a vivid three-dimensionality. The grassblades' underlying darkness is like a deep contrabass pulsating beneath excited violin soarings.

The odor of crushed grass pools around us. An unhurried late afternoon breeze gathers into itself odors of moist air, of damp, moldy soil, and lemony-smelling Lemoncilla flowers, their waxy-white little blossoms nestled among darkly shadowed tree-branches. The breeze mingles these perfumes with our own oily odor of skin sizzling in sunlight.

I look at my friend between the sun and me, soft moist flesh as black silhouette silver-rimmed with sharp sun-sheen, round nose-tip, sloped forehead, angled cheekbone, plunge of neck, all black with scorching silver halo, and this silhouette moves, something very alive here beside me, alive and unfathomed. I put my hand against the sun to see, but sun-splinters splatter between fingers, fire-edged silhouetted fingers, light flashing, shifting, stabbing deep grass, slicing Limoncillo fragrance, jabbing into my eyes and I look away.

Green, green the grass, looking into the grass, not really interested in toucans, just need the grass to stay as it is, just need me to stay right here, nothing to change, keep this moment steady and quiet like a grassblade-tip dewdrop unwilling to fall. Facebook Icon.