Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cold and Quiet

I think it would be safe to say that returning home has been a bit of a shock to my system.  For one thing- it's freezing in North Carolina!  Colder than normal even, we are looking at three days running here with highs in the mid 30's and lows in the teens, I know the northerners will poo-poo that as cold, but compared to Oaxaca where the daytime average was 75-80 degrees, these chilly temps are a little hard to take.  I'm glad we've got a big pile of seasoned firewood, and I wish the cough that lingers from my cold, the one that kicks in just as I'm about to fall asleep and keeps up all night, would go away.

Other than the sound of my coughing it is incredibally quiet here.  I always knew it was quiet, but when I compare to Mexico, where there never seems to be silence, there is a very pronounced stillness here in the woods.  Of course as I write this I hear the bassetts barking next door, but that's just an occasional noise, mostly all we ever hear are owls hooting, crickets and frogs calling in summer, birds in the early morning, occasional squabbles between possums and raccons over some juicy scrap in the compost pile at night.

In Mexico, in the City anyway, it seemed that the noise never ceased.  Cars and buses are expected, sirens too, but then there would be music, either from a radio or often from a live band, playing for a party or fiesta of some kind, I even heard a band one morning at 5:30, I was trying to decide if they were just getting rolling or were winding down from the night before.  The days and nights were punctuated by fireworks, generally bottle rockets (cohetes), I had almost reached a point where I stopped jumping, the whistle that came before the loud boom tipping me off, but they really sounded like bombs going off on a regular basis.  After the blast, the smell of sulphur would drift through the air.

Setting up a fireworks display

This tower was stood upright, covered with fireworks and catherine wheels and lit the night of the Radish festival, the only thing in the history of  Mexico to ever happen EARLY, I missed it.

Mexican's are verbal and loud.  Children have a respected status, they are everywhere all the time, regardless of the hour and can be heard calling plaintively, frequently, ma... maa...  MAAA!  With the non-stop fiestas of the Christmas season, shouts of excitement, singing, the sound of a stick whacking a piñata and noisy merriment seemed to be happening 24/7.  Dogs barking and roosters crowing are also ubiquitous.
I was actually reaching a point where I was getting used to the noise, I could sleep at night without my earplugs, but it is an aspect of city life that I think adds to the tension of urban living.  I'm glad to be back home in my stillness again.

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