An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of June 19, 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

BEACH JAZZLET

The key: Early morning, showers offshore, on the beach just breezy enough to keep the mosquitoes down, high tide.

The tempo: Small, nervous, indecisive waves washing among rocks maybe every eight seconds.

Instrumentation: Wind-thump in ears, wave sloshes between rocks, constant breaker roar from offshore reef, woodpecker tapping on dead palm trunk.

Theme: The sun rising among slate-gray, tall-clustering cumuli, a thin layer of whitish, scaly alticumuli above them, pale blue sky above that, and then the sea leaden at a distance, green-blue nearer, transparent at my feet, thus double themes trending toward ever greater clarity, except, at me, non- understanding, non-analysis, all stimuli filtering through to me getting confused and lost in passage.

Melody: A single white gull, silent, sailing up the beach, ever so slowly, gazing onto the line below of ankle-deep golden Sargasso washed ashore with a single green and red watermelon rind from somebody's boat, the passing gull not noticing me, soloing on up the beach, then gone, as if never there, the empty sky and me on a rock, me.

Accompaniment: The process of increasingly whiter clouds with better delimited borders and sunlight increasingly hotter from a sun a little higher up; mid-session a 90-second rainbow beside a purple shower crosses the beach down below.

Improvisation #1: A "please" with no metaphors, please, and no memories either, please, just rocks and clouds and waves and wind, please.

Improvisation #2: Sayings: The sun, the wind, the salt spray toughen the skin, they say. But, that's only the skin, I say.

The end.