I awoke at daybreak to a raucous beating of what sounded like a hundred bongo drums. I had heard them throughout the night and knew the Carnaval celebration was in full swing. All night music played, voices echoed, dogs barked, men and women and children laughed and howled and shrieked, donkeys brayed, roosters crowed, birds squawked, crickets chirped and we slept and woke, slept and woke, slept and woke.
At six, the church bells called for mass in the bedroom. Even with our windows closed, my eyes were wide and my ears were ringing.
The bells agitated Cookies who began to meow and claw at the door to get out. I went out with him.
It was surprisingly quieter outside than in the bedroom.
I could still hear the bongos, in full beat. I put on my jacket, hopped on new old bike and went in search of the bongos.
The air was cool and it was barely light. I pedaled out towards the beisbol stadium, not a car on the road. Not a soul in sight. No early morning buses creeping by, filling the sweet air with exhaust. No trucks bringing in produce, no trucks taking out workers.
I thought maybe there was a large fiesta still going on inside the stadium........there was nothing there and the sound was farther away now. I thought I could hear it coming from the airport, so out to the airport I pedaled. I could hear nothing once I got there. And I thought.......well, they have finally stopped.......................now I will go home and get back into bed.
As I rode up Hidalgo toward town, I could hear them again, sounding somewhat closer. I rode to the La Capilla Barrio.......................nothing there.
I saw a Mexican man I knew and asked him.....................where is the music coming from........................he hid his tecate behind his back and shrugged and pointed to the Nueva Creacion Barrio and it did seem like the bongos might be there. I rode all the way out there........nothing. But then it seemed once again like they might be coming from town.
Back into town I rode and I saw nothing. The drums were very, very faint. But it almost sounded, for a moment, like they could be coming from the south, up on the hills near our house.
I rode across the arroyo to La Campana. I rode out to the Ecology Place. At every corner the drums teased. Sometimes they drifted faintly on the wind and then, around the next corner, they beat solidly from back across the wet arroyo I had just crossed.
At the Plaza I stopped for a photo of the Carnaval stage. I stopped for a few other photos of quiet empty streets. I went over to Olas Altas. Not a sound. I heard a bongo beat three times from back near the Plaza. I rode back. The only people in town were inside the church, listening to a hushed mass.
As soon as I returned home, the bongos were beating savagely and I sat in the Hilton Garden Room and listened to them for quite sometime. I told Senor where I had gone and why. He listened and pointed in the direction of the drums. Then suddenly, he pointed in a different direction. Neither of us could determine the origin. They sounded close and to the north and then, a change in the wind, and weren't they coming from the east? Or was that across the road and to the west? Now they were very far away in the distance. Could there be more than one group of bongo drummers?
A little later, I was again sitting in the garden room. I heard a chicken cluck. It sounded like it was over in the field to the north. I got up to look and saw nothing. It clucked again and I got up again. It sounded like it was coming from the same place. I finally found that chicken, right by the gate, out in the street, behind the adobe wall, in the west. But that is not at all where the sound came from.
There is a rooster crowing right now and it sounds like he is back there in Jesus' yard. Now Jesus does not have a rooster. Just a minute. I am going to go and listen.
The rooster is somewhere down the street, I think.
Sound is a funny thing here. You never know where it really is. I have decided that is because it is just everywhere.