Just before the light starts to creep into and through the deep jungle canopy of tall trees and thick foliage that surrounds our casa, which is the view from my room, the life begins to make its presence known. At first it is just the sound of the insects increasing their voices, and then the birds start to wake up and join in. It seems that the wee hours are always heralded by an owl, or two, which slowly fade into the sounds of the doves talking to one another: hoo hoo, hoo hoo, back and forth. Close behind are the congos, the howler monkeys – there are usually many groups that sing their howling songs as the dawn breaks, speaking to one another, announcing their claim to the territories that they will be foraging for the day. Back and forth the macho male of the group will bellow out his deep “rorwwrrwoorrwwoorrworww, unnh unnh uhhn uhhn”. It is possible to distinguish sometimes four or more groups, their deep voices traveling over vast distances (up to three miles). Once in a while there will be a single or a group close by our casa, as happened the other day a lone male was in a tree right next to the house – he was sooooo loud! As soon as he knew that he was being watched (by us) he went around the other side of the tree, where he thought he was hiding, to continue to voice his opinion to the new day, and anyone or thing that might care to listen.
Ah, and now the birds are singing their songs, defining their territories, staking their claims, or generally speaking to one another – family or common dwellers alike. The songs! There are so many, it is challenging to identify let alone listen to and single out all of the different species that co-exist here with us. When I look up different birds in the books there are these words that are meant to describe their sounds, but just as I have tried to put letters to convey the sound that the howlers make, it doesn’t come close, it is something to be experienced to comprehend. I could only guess that there at least fifty different bird songs out there as I write this, possibly more.
We have no other sounds here other than the sounds of the surrounding jungle life that are “normal”. There are no roads or highways travelled frequently, no sounds of electricity in the house, no neighbors, nothing man-made. At least those sounds do not penetrate this world in the early hours or late, except on occasion someone else that lives in the valley may get caught coming home in the dark on their motorcycle. However, yesterday there was a group of 4×4 rigs, no motorcycles, definitely trucks or jeeps or something, that were attempting to get through on one of the old road “trails” that, once well-traveled, are now almost impassable. The jungle creeps over and into empty spaces quickly, and often trees fall over roads and trails, but these are ‘roads’ that have seen no maintenance in many many years and the water has carved deep ruts into them; there are places where the creeks and rivers cross the roads that are virtually not passable. But there are those adventurous souls that are more than willing to take on the challenge of getting through. Of course, having been in the rainy season for many months now, and lots of rain recently, those roads are down to slicker- than-snot clay tops and some really steep drop-offs. Yesterday such an adventurous die-hard group came in to give it their best shot, equipped with winches and chainsaws. We could hear their struggles, their starts and stops, the chainsaws, some yelling, the winches coming into play, and little to no progress. I do not believe that it was possible to turn back, and it seemed just as impossible to continue forward. And then the rains came in, hard and penetrating – the 4×4 noise stopped, and we did not here it start again. Did they make it out, or not?
Personally, I prefer the ‘noise’ of the monkeys, the insects, the birds and the other jungle creatures, especially at the beginning of each day. However, we all share this planet together, and we are just as guilty of making our human noises – with or without mechanizations – as humans in this valley, adding our own ‘song of existence’ to the others. I must also add that this valley with its surrounding mountains and proximity to the coast generates some of the most spectacular thunderstorms imaginable, complete with awesome displays of lightening. The bolts of light can hit right on up (or down, or across) the valley, generating deafening thunder that rattles the house and the ground. Almost always the howlers will announce the arrival of intense rain, but once the thunderstorm hits the jungle critters are quiet, well tucked in their canopy safety. And then the rain starts…a lot of times you can hear it moving in from where it has come, a sound that is thick and heavy and almost like wind, louder and louder and then it is upon us. There are times it is so heavy that you cannot hear yourself think! Forget the phone call, it is tough to hear a conversation with someone standing right next to you…so we stop and watch this world getting a shower (or a good soaking) from our deck, with complete amazement for the power of the storm.
In the beginning there was sound, life began with sound…Ommmm…and there is amazing power in sound if one can pause long enough to truly listen, merely to stop and listen, at any moment. There is sound around us all of the time. The creatures of this planet offer an infinite array of sounds, their connections to Earth and each other through the vibrations they emit in their sounds. I am blessed to have the gift of the simple sounds of nature, especially in the morning. It seems a rare opportunity for most to be able to sit with the sounds of nothing more than what the Earth offers, no other interference from ‘artificial’ noises, and with intention perhaps even to remove the incessant chatter of the mind and truly listen to the earth. It is during those moments that we have some of the greatest opportunities available to us through the energy of sounds, our own bodies speak to us with much information, and all we need to do is to listen.
Listening to the world in the morning during the daily wake-up call, or possibly any other time of the day when the jungle talks to me, is truly a gift of messages that filter through my sub-conscious to my conscious waking self…what will this day bring? Or possibly, what would you like me to know? I listen with awe and gratitude, thanking the jungle for talking to me, once again. What a privilege!
Thank you Gaia, for all of your gifts.
(There is media to hear the sounds…however, thus far after many attempts they will not download onto this page. ho hum, perhaps another time!)