An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of December 11, 2016
Issued from Rancho Regenesis near Ek Balam ruins 20kms north of Valladolid, Yucatán, Mexico

GAIA ON THE ROAD TO TEMOZÓN

The little family stores in Ek Balam and Santa Rita don't carry such exotic foods as granola and carrots, so sometimes I need to bike to the much larger town of Temozón about six kms south of the rancho. The first kilometer or so takes me down a deeply shaded dirt trail through woods. This week the path is crunchy with curled, dried-up leaves fallen because the dry season has begun. It smells and feels like similar woodland trails up north at the end of a hot, dry summer.

The trail abruptly connects with the main highway between Valladolid to the south and Río Lagartos on the coast to the north. The highway's glaring openness and rush of double-trailer trucks, buses and local traffic, all loud and all in a hurry, come as a shock after being at the rancho. But, out on the highway peddling south, I remember that the open road also is good -- the broad sky with its expressive clouds, the wind and ever-changing scenery.

The dry season began about a month early this year, so herbs and grasses along the road are yellowing and starting to look puckery. The northern Yucatan always is arid, for it extends into that belt of aridness that wraps around globe at about 30°N, in which are found the deserts of northern Mexico, northern Africa, the Middle East, Mongolia and other places. This arid zone is a product of the Hadley Cell -- hot, moist air at the Equator rising and dumping its water, then later descending at 30° N and S as dry air. If you travel from one end of this road to another you can watch the transition, in terms of trees being taller and less scrubby on the southern end. Our Hadley Cell page goes into the details at http://www.backyardnature.net//q/hadley.htm

Somehow thinking about the Hadley Cell and my place in it today makes me especially glad to be puffing out carbon dioxide that will be used during photosynthesis by weeds along the road to make carbohydrate for their own bodies. My CO2 goes into them, and their oxygen photosynthesis-byproduct is sent back to become part of me. The farther south I go the more clearly I see myself as part of all this.

In fact, I'm glorying in the fact that sunlight-energy stored among atomic bonds in the carbohydrate of the granola I ate this morning right now powers up my brain to the point that I can see vividly that I am some kind of... song. I am a song that not only spews out CO2 but also sweat and heat, and now look how all these byproducts of life majestically waft into the wind streaming around me, wind headed north today in some kind of sub-pattern of the Hadley Cell.

Thinking like this makes me feel like part of something big, but the same thoughts remind me how tiny I am in the scheme of things.

Actually, long ago I figured out that "I" am hardly anything at all, just some kind of ephemeral, ad hoc perception given to imagining this world of weedy roadsides and grinning dogs on no other grounds than stimuli conducted to a brain-computer. The stimuli are caused by the effects of force fields of my own atoms and molecules interacting with force fields of atoms and molecules of other things. These atoms and molecules of both myself and the world around me are exquisitely configured, somehow having been aligned and mingled into sub-universes that interrelate in awareness-generating patterns. It's all so beautiful and mysterious that there's a basis for spirituality there.

So, the spirit moving me as I peddle into the wind here on the road to Temozón inspires me to say this: That today -- despite my evanescence and unimportance -- I claim to be nothing less than a scintilla of Gaia/the-Earth-as-One-Living-Thing, and that what there is of me rejoices in being one of a near infinite number of clouds of atoms and molecules configured to thrive on the Universe's poetic and well meaning illusions, and to contribute to those illusions, as I'm doing right now.