An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of May 1, 2011
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

ALIVE ON THE BEACH

At this new location you always hear waves breaking on the sand beach. In slow motion, clouds come ashore, sometimes sharply defined, sometimes just vague curdles, but always moving, regrouping, coming and going. Nearly always a stiff breeze flows through the windows of my second-story room facing the sea.

Outside the window, always you see white-capped waves moving shoreward and, beneath the window, the tops of young palms and Tropical Almonds gyrating in wind. Walking along the beach, sand peppers your ankles, salt spray fogs your glasses and Frigatebirds float above you. Movement, movement, movement.

All that interminable movement affects the nervous system. It's not that it makes you nervous, but it does create in the spirit a kind of raw edginess. It's not unpleasant, but maybe it is a little intoxicating, even addictive. That's OK. It's OK like falling in love knowing that it'll all end soon. But, somehow you want, you need, the flowing, the churning, the blowing and breaking, the movement, even when you know about the hurt soon to come.

From experience I know that when finally I have to go far enough inland to not hear the surf, not feel wind off the water, where Frigatebirds don't hang in the sky, I'll feel some kind of void, an emptiness, the tragic end of something. Dumbly I'll sit or stand wondering what will take the place of all that obsessive, distracting agitation.

But, for now, I don't have to worry about that, for I'm in the midst of it all, addicted, obsessing, alive on the beach.

In fact, these days and nights, I do herby exquisitely consciously and with utmost purpose declare my determination to exult in rawness of wind-blown wave- foam, edginess of Frigatebird silhouette in dazzling sky, do set forth my sweaty leg for windblown sand to stick to, do suck deeply this salty, fish-smelling wind and take it into me so hungrily and violently that it flaps my jowls and whistles down my throat into bottomless me.

Well, at some point on every beach walk you turn toward the ocean where it's deepest and there, long and long, you stand staring, so vividly alive.

That's where we're at right now. Facebook Icon.