Sunday, October 30, 2011

Listening to the nighttime

I sleep in an open-air cabana. There is no difference between inside and out. Each night as I close my eyes, I listen to the rustle of bats circling the room and the steady hum of a million different insects occupying the darkness. The frogs seem to croak the name of one of the workers on the farm: “Ed-garrrr,” they say, “Eddd-garrr.”

One night, a catfight ventured to the fourth floor where I sleep. The animals hissed and snarled while sprinting back and forth along the corridor of the room between sleeping girls. I shot up in my bed and attempted to shine my headlamp on the cats, but they were moving quickly and my pupils were still adjusting to the white light. I couldn’t catch a glimpse before they chased one another down the ladder-like staircase.

The next morning our floor was covered with fur and cat poop. We went downstairs for chores and found our fluffy farm pet lying dead under the bamboo sofa. It is still somewhat of a mystery what killed him. My guess is an ocelot.

Needless to say, the nights are never quiet, but they are always somewhat peaceful. I’m used to the sounds now. I find them comforting and familiar. I know the roosters begin to crow around 4:30 a.m. – even the little tan one with a broken vocal box. Leo usually passes by on his motorbike around 6 a.m. -- a signal for me to get out of bed. And I can now recognize the steady, high-pitched rumble of his moto, which is different from Edgar or Danilo.

I also know the sounds of the gates scattered around the property – the subtle, low drone of the main entrance or the long creak of the gate near the pigpens.

The ambient noise of this area is so different from what I know: there are no passing airplanes, no highways full of traffic in the distance, no TVs. At first the silence felt creepy, but now I think electric noise would be creepier.



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