Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tropical Climates

It strikes me that tropical climates, for all the pleasures that they offer to the escaping northern traveler, are oddly deprived. Here everything appears to struggle. Plants struggle for decent soil and moisture. And because the land-based life is challenged, everything is centered on the marine environment. Birds are the dominant visible life-form. It is hot enough here in February so that July must be totally enervating. Hence these climates don’t produce “great works” like civilization. The heat, humidity saps energy. Now, of course, this is well-known, as are the similar challenges of the extreme Nordic climes; to know is one thing, to experience it is another. No cathedrals in the tropics, as it were…

Aware simultaneously of the pin-hole sized character of my usual interests compared to all this immensity. They are in another realm and here lack all size. Yet I sense a kind of pathos hanging about the palms here, their desiccated, lifeless lower branches turning ever darker, the peeling bark, and the thick clusters of green coconuts above showing little confidence in what awaits them after the fall to the white-grey gravel that stretches between adobe-yellow walls. (Florida notes.)

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