Churchbells clang on a sunny, windy morning. Palms rustle. They scrape shiny speared leaves against one another. The low rumble of a power boat carries across the water to where I sit on our back deck, in a turquoise lounge chair, straw hat flopping in the breeze, looking out over the Caribbean sea. A rooster crows in the distance. Cock-a-doodle-dooooooo.
The bottom of my ceramic mug scrapes against slate-colored tiles under my wicker chair when I lift the cup to sip coffee. I hear dishes clink in the kitchen, a cupboard door bump shut, and our daughter’s sweet voice saying “Good morning!” as my husband walks into the open air house with his frothy mug.
I smell salt air and coffee. My fingers smell like ink. Floating 100 meters beyond the railing of our patio is a small white fishing boat. The dark fisherman wears a bright shirt, neon like a traffic cone, a brilliant orange contrast to the turquoise shallows below him.
Palm fronds tick against the concrete wall beside me. A solitary car passes on the winding road out front. Tropical birds whirr and chirp.
A little yellow bird just landed on the cushion by my toes. It hopped onto the tile next to my chair, then hopped up on the white lip of my coffee cup. The bird was small, like a goldfinch, and the same sunshine yellow.
The sea’s skin is wrinkled with sharp-edged ripples as far as I can see. Swells rise and fall gently beneath them.
The church bell just rang out again. This time it’s setting off a chorus of animals. Dog barks rise all around and echo off the mountain behind us, roosters cock-a-doodle-doo, birds titter excitedly. The bell keeps ringing. More dogs, roosters, and small birds lend their voices, and more join in to answer their call, till this quiet little Sunday morning becomes a cacophony of the deep clang of a metal bell, dogs barking, roosters crowing, and birds chattering.
The final ring of the bell hangs in the air, and the local animals get in one final yip, one final crow, and a few final tweets and chirps. It is soon quiet again. All I hear are the rustle of the fronds, the scratch of my pen in my journal, and the scrape of my ceramic mug against the tile as I lift it to my lips to sip coffee.
I’ve been dipping my toes back into writing exercises, mostly drills like “set a timer for ten minutes and write all the sounds you hear.” I’ve only been writing in my journal, but we’re vacationing in Curaçao right now, a tiny desert island about 70 miles north of Venezuela, and I wanted to remember this morning.