The sounds…amazingly and phenomenally quiet – perhaps too quiet for some, there is definitely a silence of sounds. No distracting ‘noise’ is out there, but the sounds are many and distinct in the still peaceful non nothingness. The rushing crisp sound of the water flowing over the huge boulders in the river down below, noticeable now that we have had a good and deep rain for three days…the various chirpings of the many crickets and the ringing chimes of the frogs. They are all in their own state of symmetry and rhythm, individually and together in symphony. There is a very remote high pitched squeal every now and then, far away, sounding much like a child at play yet it is not…at this time in the wee hours definitely not, perhaps a bird of some kind, it could also be a wild cat yowling in the darkness, expressing the desire for company, or perhaps the displeasure of having to share space with another. I heard a coyote howl in the distance. So very quiet and very peaceful, yet rich and full of life, many different sounds; pieces of jungle dry and old fall through the stories of canopy and then land on the roof, or gently ‘crash’ through the neighboring branches as they tumble to the ground; the kitty runs through the tall dry grass chasing something, the dog barks. A tree crashes to the earth not far from here. Some critter is whistling a different tune…most of the whistling night birds have moved beyond their ritual noisy broadcasting systems of whistling outside of the bedroom windows as they vie for attention from suitable mates…on and on the shrill sharp loud whistling would go, night after night for weeks, temping humans to pitch rocks (or something) in their direction, now replaced by whistling from a new and different source, a much less intrusive song that has the courtesy to stop for a while, to whistle softly and then retreat peacefully.
I love the jungle sounds, the sounds of the night, especially the amazing coming to life sounds of the predawn, but all day long there is much to hear as well. Watching the swallow tail kites swirling in the wind currents in front of the house as they ride the wind in search of a meal…dropping suddenly and quickly with wings tucked – straight out of the sky with an incredible whooshing noise of cutting through the air. The hawk yelling as the smaller avians agitate and pester it to leave their dwelling areas, their home ranges – the hawk intruder that is much larger is squealing in protest and annoyance, yet slowly and grandly circles further and further out of the home range of the family birds. The toucans with their great bills causing their flight to be heavy, yet agile they fly with great flapping wings – then stay in balance as they soar slightly downhill from treetops to treetops, where they perch to sing their songs to gather together to discuss their next adventure. The story that is told in the voices of the jungle, moment to moment and day to day…I listen and know that they are speaking to one another, to others nearby or with much distance between, to me or anyone willing to listen – all with something important to ‘talk’ about or express, at the very least expressing their ultimate joy in being alive.
The howler monkeys have been exceptionally vocal recently, the past four to five days especially. Not only extremely loud in the ritual morning wake up alarm, announcing the new day, but at several odd times throughout the day as well. It is very difficult to know the why’s of such things, but the very early rains that we have had, the full moon, and the numerous rolling earthquakes that we have been experiencing could be a part of it…I don’t know, it is all synchronous and I listen and observe.
Very soon we will be leaving this part of the jungle for another kind of natural surrounding with completely different sounds and visuals becoming a part of our ‘norm’. Here we are deep in the jungle with very little human interference. Not sure where we are going at this point, however we have recently been looking at an area that is the end edge of a long ridge that drops into the convergence of three rivers, a very powerful water canyon. The area is far more open having lots of cleared ground for pasture, however the quebradas are full of jungle, they are deep into the water gorges that feed the rivers as they carve their way through the sides of the ridges with the abundant water that flows for many months in a year. There is a waterfall nearby in the quebrada near the house, a tremendous embedded huge rock that drops steeply off the mountain side forming a waterfall that drops into a wonderful swimming hole. It is a steep and rocky climb, but not impossible and with a grand reward, and very private. Absolutely huge boulders lining the water course force us to pause and wonder, how did these get here? Where are they from and did the big waters move them out of the hillside and down the water course to lodge them, not permanently, in the ravine? The sound of these boulders tumbling as they find a new position during the torrential rains…I have heard this sound of sheer power in motion before and so enjoy hearing it, perhaps I will again.
The merging rivers…three great rivers coming together are just below the house, in view yet the house is at a dependable height for high water. There is a kind of flat sandy plain where the rivers come together, with lots of river rocks, of course; it is the bottom of this valley and there is room for the water to spread out wide and flat for a distance before they come together in full force narrowing down as the water finds its way to the coast through the mountains around the back side of this ridge. This gathered river water energy winds through these mountains for quite a distance of bends and curves, incredibly wild and steep jungle, gathering more water from the other quebradas feeding it along its course as it moves to the south and west; until it reaches a ‘crossroads’ where there is a bridge that crosses this now very large river as it joins into another very large river on the opposite point (from where the house is), the south side of this long ridge as it drops down into this intersection where the waters all join together for the final rush to the ocean. Over the time that we have lived here we have driven across this bridge many times on our way to the coast, how raging and muddy this river can be during those times…seeing these two merging great rivers, often one is muddy and the other is clear…this sight has given us pause to wonder about the phenomenal abundance of rainfall that must dump into that water course, not to mention all of the other water drainages feeding into it. Looking north from this house site into the valley with all of the water drainages that originate there feeding into those rivers – wow, this is so huge! Such a magnificent water canyon, the sounds and symphonies that would be delivered from that water, those boulders rolling and tumbling, the merging of the raging muddy waters from everywhere – what a sound it must be.
Of course the animal life would also be completely different in that area, as well – insects of a different elevation and microclimate, the bird life has great variations with a big population of water birds living there, but especially the monkey life is completely different. The howlers are there, although they are not so close; the capuchins, the gorgeous and entertaining troops of white faced monkeys are plentiful along the rivers. The several encounters that I have had with these charming critters has been a great delight, they are so much fun to watch. The live in large family groups with the senior males in charge of protection and leading the groups, while the females and young are closely grouped, feeding through the trees or running across the roads and trails. Iguanas are plentiful there as well, and these guys get big and they can be destructive to gardens and chickens, however my dogs love chasing lizards so this could be a new gig for them (not quite crocodile size or caiman, but big).
Or not…moving there is merely a possibility, one of many, however the magic of the merging rivers is a sight and sound to witness and enjoy regardless! The magic of these water canyons is beyond amazing and awesome, exhilarating and breathtaking to be sure! Here exists an amazing plethora of jungle sound, so vast and varied, the music of life in a world that is home to more species of plants and animals than most places on earth. What a privilege to be living here with the amazing opportunity to be in this world experiencing so many of these life forms. Not in town, not in communities of people, but pretty far out there…where the sounds are very simply and minimally au natural.
The dawn is close and the jungle sounds have become alive and quite busy, unusually loud and noisy this morning. A tree just crashed behind the house outside my window, and the howlers are bidding me g’day in all of their howling growling creaking voices way…welcoming in another awesome magical day here in paradise. It sounds as though there are at least four groups within a close range, quite nearby…and I hear a monkey of a different nature stirring restlessly in the other room…grumbling and complaining (loudly) about ALL OF THE LOUD JUNGLE NOISES THAT ARE KEEPING HIM FROM SLEEPING!!!
Good morning Jungle!