An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of September 25, 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

TAPDANCING WITH SANDPIPERS

On online radio I hear a percussion showdown between a tapdancer and a drummer, and I decide that that's the way I want to do things, tapdance out the window onto the palmtree tops tap-tap, atop the seagrape tops tap-tap, onto the beach, the sandy beach with waves BOOM- swishhhhhhhh, BOOM-swishhhhhhhh, BOOM-swishhhhhhhh, tap-tap-tap down the sand sandpiper-peep-sixteenth-notes twittering peep-peep-peep twittering BOOM-swishhhhhhhh, BOOM-swishhhhhhhh, BOOM-swishhhhhhhh and me there spotlighted amidst it all Bojangling, big wide eyes big wide smile arched eyebrows sweating bullets tapdancing the morning away.

For, something there is beyond lugging this flesh around, beyond getting anchored in history and future, plodding, keeping low and being myself as others define me, and when you tapdance, you can tapdance anyplace, like I'm telling you I did right here.

But, here's the thing: You're out there and everything is tapdancing, all those rattly-tattly sandpipers and BOOM-swishhhhhhhh, BOOM-swishhhhhhhh, BOOM-swishhhhhhhh waves, and when you get your own thing going, how do you keep up with who's doing what?

But, here's the next thing: You do it, you coordinate and you feed off those other dancers, and then you see: It's all one thing. It's all one big dance and there's a beat down below wavesplash/wingbeat/foot-tap, something like ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

So, there I was, tapdancing with sandpipers and the ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm began, and things came together, and things froze the way they were, and though I couldn't move my head or feet or anything I looked around, realized we'd forgotten to invite an audience, that we were doing all this just for ourselves, and I got tickled, and the sandpipers and the beach got tickled, and we all started laughing, and after we'd finished laughing we all just went back doing whatever we'd been doing before, just that now we'd done our tapdancing, had a good laugh, and now we'll see what comes next. Facebook Icon.