Saturday, November 13, 2010

Wake-up Call

This past Monday, I started work. The 45-minute drive and 8:00 a.m. start time meant that, for the first time since we've been here, HB and I used an alarm clock to wake up. We haven't needed one before now, because the BVIs provide their own wake-up call.

Since we have no a/c, the best way to ensure the bedroom is reasonably cool at night is to leave the windows open. As a result, when we go to bed, we're treated to a chorus of forest noises. There are small insect chirps, and a few nocturnal birds, but the Bo-Peep frogs (also known as the Virgin Islands Coqui) create a wall of noise that can surmount 100 decibels, especially when it rains.

There are a few things that quiet the frogs. Wind comes to mind, as does sunrise. When the first rays of light peek over the horizon, the constant "bo-peep, bo-peep" sound of the frogs comes to a quick end in a startling silence, guaranteed to jar you awake.

Realizing it's only 5:45 or so in the morning, you try to doze off again, but soon you are heralded with that other dawn event, the cock's crow. Chickens run wild on the island, and if you're lucky enough to live in a little pocket that doesn't have any fowl, it doesn't matter, because the rooster's "cock-a-doodle-doo" echoes up the ghuts and over the hillsides from all directions. Thankfully, unless there is a particularly randy rooster on any given morning, this usually only lasts for about 30 minutes after sunrise.

There is a blissful time that arrives after the roosters stop crowing. The sunlight is soft and golden, the air is as cool as it's going to be all day, and you feel like you can actually cuddle with your spouse without becoming a giant ball of sweat. Everything is comfortable and lovely and you feel like you could sleep for several more hours.

Until 7:00 a.m. That's when the border collie next door starts his morning bark. It is a desperate, sharp, happy-to-be-awake bark that has a high-pitched, whining tone impossible to ignore. It even keeps HB from snoozing, though he manages to sleep through the roosters most mornings.

By 7:30 or so, when the collie's morning vocal exercises begin to die down, traffic has picked up on the road. Large trucks rumble past, and sometime very soon, the schoolchildren will be outside our window, two stories down, playing and laughing in the road while waiting for the school bus. It is time to get up. The BVI is out there waiting.

*Sorry about the lack of post yesterday. The internet was down until late in the evening 

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