An Excerpt from Jim Conrad's
NATURALIST NEWSLETTER
of February 4, 2018
Issued from Rancho Regenesis near Ek Balam ruins 20kms north of Valladolid, Yucatán, Mexico

CURRENTS OF THE SEASON

This week as I peddled down the woodland trail from the ranch to the highway, the ground was littered with brown leaves that were moist and spongy from the morning's dew. The forest smelled fungusy but fresh, and the air's coolness felt good rippling across my face and bare legs and arms. It felt like a forest in late September in Kentucky. Even leaves were dropping through slanting early-morning sunbeams.

All these seasonal cues triggered a pleasant nostalgia for earlier times. I remembered picking apples with my parents, how pretty the fields back then had been at harvest time, and what a relief it always had been at that time of year finally to have some cool weather. The nostalgia and memories made me feel good.

But, then I remembered that the morning's first impressions hadn't been of fall at all, but rather of early spring. During breakfast, White-browed Wrens and Black-headed Saltators had called like they do when the time to claim territories and mates approaches. The orange trees' first blossoms were just opening, suffusing the area with a sweet, springy fragrance, and when I reached the highway, all along the road winter-leafless Silk Cottontrees bore wide-open, golden, tulip-like blossoms.

So, the morning really felt like fall and spring in equal measure. Moreover, these sensations were all in the context of knowing with absolute certainty that the hottest, driest, most stressful months of April, May and June loomed before us.

And then I thought, isn't this just like life in general? First, your family and community show you how to think and do things while making a cozy little place for you; that's like morning's first impression of spring being in the air. But time passes, you gain new information and experiences, and then you have to question much of what you've been assuming. And then, as life continues, and information and experience keep piling on, at some point you're faced with making this big, hard and painful choice that'll define you thereafter:

For the sake of "not rocking the boat," and continuing to enjoy your community's comfortable, springy illusions, do you ignore what you've seen and learned, and stay the same as always, or; to accommodate your new knowledge and experience do you change your thoughts and behavior -- Maybe admit that things are much more complex and nuanced than you'd thought, even though you'd like to stay in a springy mood forever?

Maybe most people change a little, but mostly don't rock the boat, or maybe they change when young but return to old ways when they're older. There are lots of ways to straddle the two philosophies without ever really facing the issue. Drifting along, maybe it's called.

As for myself, I can tell you that at age 70 the way it's worked out is that here on a lovely springy/fallish morning peddling toward daunting April, May and June, I've decided to just keep peddling down the road, as consciously as possible delighting in the fresh morning air, the blossoming Silk Cottontrees along the road, the squawking parrots flying overhead, the prospect of seeing friends at the hotel, on and on, and on and on...