An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of November 20, 2011
issued from Hacienda Chichen Resort adjoining
Chichén Itzá Ruin in YUCATÁN, MÉXICO

MORNING-GLORY MORNING

morning glories in the Yucatan

Nowadays the Yucatán's weather is glorious. Mornings are chilly but it warms up fast, then the sunny afternoons are just hot enough for working up a sweat, but then there's a light breeze to cool you off. Last Sunday morning I biked up to Xocempich, the first on-the-road village north of Pisté. Along that narrow but paved road what most caught my eye were the morning- glory vines.

We have so many morning-glory species -- several of which I can't identify -- that sometimes I wonder whether ancient Chichén Itzá's Maya royalty might have created morning-glory gardens in which they developed cultivars not found elsewhere. Maybe now some of those cultivar genes flow through the wild stock expressing themselves in terms of unforeseen hues and unusual sizes and vigor.

Last Sunday, peddling down the morning-glory endowed road to Xocempich, I reflected on how different that morning's feeling was from Sunday mornings of the last six months, down on the coast north of Mahahual. There things felt so edgy. Always you sensed the ocean brooding beneath its calm, blue surface, always capable of turning violent at any time. The constant wind stung with salt spray, and out in the horizon-to-horizon mangroves crocodiles awaited, and mosquitoes; even the orchids were ten-ft-tall, remember?

But, last Sunday here in the peninsula's interior the landscape lay in self-satisfied, easy repose. A whole field of purple morning-glories yielded to a roadside of white ones with red ones intermingled, then there was an all-green forest edge with just a splash of pale morning-glory blue here and there. As I peddled along it was like passing through a long-playing symphonic pastorale graced with morning-glory motifs, sometimes teasing with brief, evanescent, four-part harmonies materializing before my very eyes as shown at the top of this page.

So, last Sunday I thought about how people have a choice of where they live, and therefore of what the world is like to them, and what they themselves are like in response. You can be a whole different person just by changing your environment. And that thought led to the observation that most of us, despite such liberty, usually end up living pretty sedentary lives, seeing and being the same, year after year.

But then the next thought was that even staying in one place a human can change what he or she focuses on, and thus become a different person even without moving. We can spend our hours watching TV, or we can catalogue, learn about and empathize with flowers just outside the window beside the TV.

And then, at a higher level, without moving we can change ourselves in even more profound ways by choosing the world in which we root our spirituality. For example, we can interpret everything in the Universe as constituting a tricky test meant to determine whether our souls spend eternity in Heaven or Hell, or we can conceive of reality as evolving, beautiful-by-definition expressions of the Universal Creative Spirit's ever-more-gorgeous poetry. Just by flipping a little switch in the mind, all Creation changes its flavor.

How I should love to be a morning-glory vine twining up a sunflower's stem in golden sunlight. Imagine wind and butterflies all around, and my own precious scent wafting into the balmy air, for everyone.

And, what a thing that a bike ride down a morning-glory road on a Sunday morning brings about such thoughts. And, no wonder that so frequently my bike wanders off the road, even when nothing lies ahead but more open road and morning-glories. Facebook Icon.