Saturday, 15 December 2007

Listening to Todos Santos


Living in town in Todos Santos is a feast for the ears. You might think maybe even too much of a feast, if you are a new visitor. If you listen closely though, beneath the initial impression of sonic chaos, there is a certain comforting daily cycle to the sounds.

Listening to Todos Santos

Before the tendrils of dawn tentatively creep into the sky
A vigilant rooster hurls its challenge into the cool air
Quickly answered by others, determined to compete
Till the sky is filled with their cacophony

The gentle rustle of palm leaves presages the arrival of the sun
And the awakening of the town

One by one, engines, ancient and arthritic, or temperamentally macho
Reluctantly stir into life
Trucks bumble along the dusty streets
Trailing fading clouds of raucous ranchero music

Insistent horns traverse the town
Announcing the arrival of gas or brooms
Tuneless trumpets mangle staccato drum beats
Initiating the school day

As the sun warms the ground, the sound mellows
Becomes cocooned
The patter of the fountain blending with snatches of laughter
And the distant sounds of construction

When the mangoes are painted golden by the lagging sun
And vultures swirl slowly in the vertiginous sky
The cooling air sharpens the sound
Extracting birds from daytime hiding places
Strident calls of a family of Flickers
Counterpoint squawks of squabbling Orioles and the chatter of Finches
Till the dying light leaves nothing
But the chink of hummingbirds defending their territory

Cicadas pounce on the fall of night
A sonic foundation for the emergence of a plethora of stars
Interrupted by mournful howls of lonely dogs
And wafts of celebratory music
Till the darkness drains energy from all
And the town falls into silence
Drawing strength for the new day.

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