24 January

The rhythm of this life is not the same as the rhythm of that life. This life ebbs and flows with the sun and moon, with darkness and light.

This life begins with the sun, with the call of the rooster, daily trumpeting his presence without battery or electricity. Fast on the heels of the roosters are the other birds, singing to the morning with strange rhythmic calls. I hear sounds, but I am aware that these African birds have a cadence and rhythm that insists, unchanging. I hear sounds, but I feel rhythm.

Voices speaking Kiswahili join the chorus. They surround my house and me still in my bed under a canopy, a rhythm, with meaning in tone and sound and not word. I am invited in as I am shut out. I listen. Human language mingles with bird song.

And then the rhythm of people at work joins in, the sounds of sweeping, daily, relaxed, constant; I hear the sounds of the brooms going back and forth in rhythm. I know that the sweeper will have one hand behind her back, at ease, as the other hand sweeps easily back and forth, back and forth, with her broom. I hear sweeping every morning on Malawi Close.

A machete joins in the rhythm, a machete hitting the ground providing bass notes, providing a deep rhythm. It hits in beats of three, then a rest, then three more hits. I feel the dull thud of the machete as grass is cut at its base close to the ground. I hear work.

It is 7:00 a.m. in Kenya, and everyone is awake, including me.


This entry was published on January 24, 2014 at 9:12 am. It’s filed under Random Thoughts, Sounds and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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