Is it good to go off the grid?

Location: Black Rock City, Nevada

I have just finished an eight day fast from electronics.

Black Rock City

No smartphone.
No iPad.
No Fitbit.
No apps.
No computer games.
No social media.

I have no knowledge of the latest political scandals, scientific discoveries, or archeological finds.

Black Rock City

This can wait.

I was also out of contact with my friends, extended family, lawyers, employees, and contractors. If there were any crises, they would just had to deal with them without me for a week.

Black Rock City

I felt a little strange to be unplugged.

To be honest, I slept for the first three days. Then spent my time with meditation, self reflection, bonding, a bit more sleep, bicycle riding, and dancing my ass off.

Now that I am back, the world seems a little less urgent.

Starlight, star bright…

Location: Searchlight, Nevada

Meter showers have been considered a grand entertainment long before YouTube and reality television. We decided to make the best of the show, so we packed up some blankets, pads, pillows, and a few snacks and drove 45 minutes south of Las Vegas to get away from the bright city lights. Then under the dark night skys, between moonset and dawn (2 AM to 5 AM) we lay on our backs to watch the Perseids meteor shower.

For most situations there is the metaphor for dusk being symbolic of obscuring truth and the dawn bringing light and clarity. With astronomy this is the exact opposite. The lighter the sky becomes, the less stars, planets, and meteors we can see.

The first thing that we notice is the Milky Way.

It has been there all the time, but with the bright city lights of Las Vegas, it is never quite visible. Then as our eyes become accustomed to the dark, more and more stars appear.

Then there is a bright brief streak of a meteor burning its path in random directions in the sky.

It may see silly, but we “Ooh” and “Aah” at every one of them. There seemed to be a meteor flashing about every 90 seconds.

We bring out our smart phones to verify the constellations and to see when the Hubble is moving across the sky.

With the coming of the daylight, the stars and meteors become harder to see. We pack up and head back to watch the sunrise, have a light snack, and finish our interrupted sleep

Out of curiosity, how do you sell your watermelons?

Location: Santa Elena, Yucatan, Mexico

The bigger cities in the Yucatan have a few supermarkets, but most of the local Maya buy their produce either in tiny fruit and vegetable shops or in open air markets.

In the shops the only fruits that have the little round stickers are items like apples, that are grown in the USA.

In the markets you will see the local Maya behind tables with home grown bananas, mangos, tomatoes, squash, beans, or whatever is in season. The produce is fabulous and grown for eating rather than for shipping.

Our farm manager, Rosalva understands the local economy.

Watermelon 4

We bring small batches of produce like dragon fruits to the local vegetable shop on as as needed basis, and are bringing a truckload of watermelons to the markets in Muni and Oxkutzcab.

Is it time to eat yet?

Location: Santa Elena, Yucatan, Mexico

Why yes, it is harvest time.

We have an abundance of corn.

corn

And a field full of ripe watermelons.

Watermelon 2

I wish you could join us here in Santa Elena so we could share with you our succulent corn and the juiciest, sweetest, tastiest watermelons on the planet.

Watermelon 3

Are there bugs in Mexico?

Location: Santa Elena, Yucatan, Mexico

Being surrounded by a swarm of wasps is scary.
Being surrounded by gnats is annoying.
But,being caught is a swirl of butterflies is utterly magical.

Orange butterflies, white butterflies, tiny salt and pepper butterflies, and giant yellow ones, madly circling, fluttering, and giving a sense of wonder as I walk along the path.

Any more news on the frogs?

Location: Santa Elena, Yucatan, Mexico

Ah Ha!

lilly pond

The ground cover here has many exposed limestone shelfs with etched shapes and often have rounded pockets that fill with water in the rainy season. On my walk this morning a close inspection reveals thousands of frog eggs.

It looks like the courting has been successful.

What is it like in the rainy season?

Location: Santa Elena, Yucatan, Mexico

Tis’ the rainy season.

The night storms are spectacular. The lightning, the thunder, the sound of the rain pelting the forest. This is indeed a time for lovers.

Particularly if you are a frog.

Many creatures dislike the dampness of the rain, not so these vocal amphibians. Some of them sing in a syncopated chorus, others are competitive soloists seeking to out sing any and all completion. Some of them croak, other twitter like birds, but the noisiest are those that sound like bicycle horns.

I hope that the lady frogs appreciate this mad serenade and fully expect to soon see puddles full of tadpoles.

How do you like being a farmer?

Location: Santa Elena, Yucatan, Mexico

There is something magical about leaving an empty field and coming back a month later to see vast crops of corn.
Cornfield
And not only corn, but the dragon fruits are in bloom, the squash plants are producing, and we have a few ripening watermelons.
Watermelon 1

Watermelon 2

We also have a pregnant filly and over fifty turkeys.

Is it dry in Las Vegas?

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas is in the desert. It is usually hot and dry, but there are the occasional thunderstorms, and we had a flock of them today.

I happened to experience one on the highway.

I was on the roads today, I needed to get some legal documents in before 4 PM. The sky was overcast.

Then there were a few drops of rain.

Then more rain.
Heavy rain.
The kind of rain that bounces a foot or more when it hits your car hood.

Then banging sounds.

Sounds like someone is hitting the roof with a ball preen hammer.
This must be hail.
It is hail.
Hail the size of maraschino cherries.
Then lots of hail.
Hail like two hundred baboons hurling stones with all their might.

I continue to drive.

Carefully.
Slowly.
In traffic.
With little visibility.
The streets are now stream beds.

After twenty minutes the rain slows down.
The temperature was 105 degrees when I started this journey.
Now it is 60 degrees.

But the water remains.

With torrents of water rushing down.
I see orange construction barrels floating down like abandoned canoes.
There are cars in odd places.
Stalled with their hazard lights flashing.

IMG_0916

The only way to tell if the water is one inch deep or ten inches is to watch the other cars on the highway.
Crossing the intersection is like fording a wild river.
Something I would never ever do unless I had just seen the car in front of me make it safely

I make it slowly to my destination, and slowly back home.

The reports said that we had 1.4 inches of rain in less than an hour.
The annual average rain here is 4.19 inches.

The folks at home say, “Wow. We had a big storm here. Did you catch any of it?”

Well, yes. Actually I did.