An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of May 29, 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

WAITING FOR THE RAINY SEASON

Several times this month I've thought that the rainy season was about to break. One heavy-feeling morning the sky hung silvery opaque and the Caribbean's surface was leaden and sullen. I sweated profusely and deer flies left red blood streaming down my legs. Surely nothing but the season's first storm could undo such pressure and tension! But, that afternoon the sky and ocean turned blue again, the waves' white crests grew playful, and there was no rain.

One afternoon a certain low rumble began unsettling my chest, a feeling I recognized as thunder from so far off that it couldn't be heard beneath the beach's roar of breaking waves. In about half an hour real thunder developed and inland toward the west a storm formed, but not here. Over the sea there were widely spaced, summery, white clouds, like little sailboats in a city park's pond, but when they sailed over us on the coast they were drawn into the western storm. But the storm stayed inland, and then dusk came, a dry and crisp one for us.

One day dawned looking like all other days, except for the wind blowing like crazy. Out beyond the reef enormous sawbacked waves mounted into hills that for a minute or two would trouble the horizon's usual straight line with impossible aberrations. Foam off beach-breaking waves rolled across sand and slopped into buildings, and every couple of minutes I had to wipe white salt-spray off my glasses. The wind kept howling all night, whistling around the building corner just outside my door. But, next morning, the wind had brought nothing, except just another day.

All these false starts make days feel a little off center, even irritating. Why do these grand, self-important thunderheads on the horizon keep fizzling out?

But, of course, it's all in my own head, the way all my aggravations are. The weather is just being the weather, with no script to follow, no promises to keep, no reason at all, really, to be anything other than what it is. If the days feel off center, it's because of the cockeyed frame of reference I myself choose. If these false starts are maddening, it's because I choose to think in terms of beginnings and ends, and favor one state over the other.

Yet, I do also claim my own right to be idiosyncratic, and to be myself assertively, whether consistent and reasonable or not.

For, how I love a rainy season that just won't come, and how I love poetizing inconstant winds, malicious waves, conspiring colors and sounds and odors and tastes, all just being themselves with me inside them!