An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of November 19, 2017
Issued from Rancho Regenesis near Ek Balam ruins 20kms north of Valladolid, Yucat√°n, Mexico

TURMERIC RHIZOMES IN MORNING SUNLIGHT

That morning when I dug up the Turmeric rhizomes, for a long time I stood transfixed by what I saw. The perfectly formed, golden rhizomes glistening in morning sunlight, branching, sprouting and fogging spicy scent into the moist air was like a sudden, unforeseen hallelujah in Handel's Messiah.

For, I'd grown accustomed to defeat in that garden soil, which was very fine clay compacted by generations of cattle hooves, depleted of organic matter by other generations of Maya slash-and-burn, and left hospitable only to prodigious populations of nematodes, bugs, pathogenic bacteria and fungi, and voracious mole-like pocket gophers called Tuzas.

Besides the sheer, unanticipated beauty of that cluster of Turmeric rhizomes, another reason I stood looking was that just seeing the rhizomes' vigor and visualizing their antioxidants eventually flooding through my body, somehow already I felt more robust and alive. And already I was wondering whether if I told you about that moment, as I am now, you might share in experiencing at least a little of the antioxidant-like-supercharging of spirit that was jazzing up my day.

For example, hearing how the turmeric harvest had affected me, maybe it'd remind you of those moments of your own when you've known that it's good to recognize fine music whether it's expressed in terms of musical tones or cabbages; to recognize good poetry whether it's a priest at Mass or a Coyote howling at the moon; to know vitality and good will when you see it, whether it's the Big Bang spewing out galaxies, giraffes, and quantum mechanics, or these Turmeric rhizomes in my hand...

I mean, this gardening stuff is transcendental. When you sow, sweat and are alert enough and smart enough to coax from abused and sterile soil a beautiful, soul- and body-pleasing harvest, you're doing nothing less than tapping into a stream of reality pregnant with the most lyrical of the evolving Universe's intentions -- those intentions inferred from what's observable and understandable here on the evolving Earth. And that tapping-in branches into other currents of delight, often rooted in just such barefoot-in-the-garden moments as this.

What a pleasure it was the next morning, and the next and the next, when I ground good-sized chunks of Turmeric rhizome into my morning stew, and the stew turned golden, and I ate it all in one breakfast setting, the Chachalacas cackling, and the dogs looking at me asking what that new smell was drifting from the pot.