An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of March 13, 2011
Issued   from Hacienda Chichen Resort adjoining Chichén Itzá Ruin in
YUCATÁN, MÉXICO

BUDDHA'S CLOUD

In the tropical dry season, on a late afternoon, white cumulus clouds come and go in the blue sky. Each cloud is a perfectly composed Buddha. Sitting outside the hut, I admire the clouds' tranquility, silent dignity and perfect composure.

And yet, in small planes I've flown through such clouds, so I know about the updrafts in them. It always seemed to me that those interior winds revealed the clouds' urge to grow, to engorge on heat and humidity from below, ultimately to thunderhead into the very stratosphere. Inside every summery cumulus cloud, I think, there's the secret wish to make a storm, a storm so turbulent and full of itself that at maturity it must of needs erupt as lightning and thunder, wind and rain, violence and purification.

I think every cloud dreams of raining onto the Mother Earth, of summoning forth upon her plains vast swaths of lush greenness, of engendering untold life and growth, frogponds lustily calling at midnight, vast, seething swarmings of glisten-winged dragonflies and midges with hungry swallows darting among them, and those swallows' heartfelt symphonies of satisfied callings after the rain has ended, in the purple evening sky.

But, in the tropical dry season, no cloud fulfills its dream. Each cloud grows just so big, then begins vanishing, even as younger clouds with no greater destinies arise all around.

So, up in the summery sky you watch your chosen cloud's fringes grow diffuse, see whole parts of it disperse or fall away, all internal updrafts collapsing, all form and dream yielding to serene, sterile emptiness.

And then you think of Buddha again, whose central message was that to end suffering one must be finished with desire.

And then you sit there, looking at the sky, remembering desire. Facebook Icon.