Wednesday, February 25, 2009

listening to Mexico

I have been taking a listen to the various sounds and noises that are different than those we are plagued with (or pleased by) at home. Some sounds fade into the background after awhile; the ocean, the trains, cars and dune buggies, the scrape of shovels on sand and cement as houses around us get repairs or are built. I have tried pulling all those various sounds apart, identifying them one by one. The day sounds are different from the night sounds. Some sounds are so rare here ~ traffic, sirens, whistles ~ that when you hear them you pay attention. How much traffic can you have in a town of 2,000 with two paved streets? Sirens usually mean a drowning or other accident. These are some of the sounds of Cuyutlán.

Day noises
• the background murmur and suss of the ocean
• the rustle of palm trees that, in the night, sound like rain.
• the occasional car horn or the clang of a pickup truck loaded with loose tools
• the snik, snik, snik of the sprinkler in the back garden
• the voices that float upstairs from passers by, especially mothers and children to an d from their way to kinder down the road
• On Monday mornings, the sound of the children's marching band; kids with drums and horns who parade around the square beating and blowing and making great noise but no music. Sometimes they march up and down the malecon as well. In all the years I've listened it I have never heard even the faintest hint of a tune.
Mariachi bands on the weekend. We are in the perfect "sound tunnel" to catch the music. It carries from down on the beach, across the street and into the house. Sometimes there are two or three competing for attention.
• the bleating of a goat. This is a new sound. Our neighbors have installed a goat in their back yard. It replaces the screaming peacock and peahen, the gobbling turkey, the clucking hens are crowing rooster, and the honking of the goose. The peacock lived on their roof. I imagine the goat is a short-term tenant; there must be a birria party coming up.
• dogs, day and night
• birds, but not as many as I would like
• car stereos with the bass turn up as high as possible. It's especially pleasant when they park on the street near the house and get together with their friends, leaving the "music" at full tilt.

Night noises:
* the sea, no longer a background, becomes the loudest part of the night. It crashes, it pounds, and when the tide it high the force of its pounding feels like an earth tremor. I know it's something to do with the pressure in the ears, but still . . .
* trains that blow warning whistles and rumble through the village three or four times a night. I have gotten used to it after two months, and only rately hear them now. But when I do, it is LOUD. And we don't live near the tracks. For some reason I don't hear them during the day.
•the aforementioned dogs frequently cluster at the end of the block and carry on their dog business deep in the night
• The reliable rooster a few blocks away; 4:30 AM every morning.

When we go back to the US, the sound of the surf will be replace by the background hum of I-80, half a mile away. There will also be sirens, car horns, traffic, to say nothing of radio and TV noise. None of that here.

I listened to the President's speech this morning via streaming. I still marvel at our luck in having him in the White House.


At 5:51 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

Oh, my...beautiful writing here and I too can hear your beloved Mexico now. Thanks, FB.


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