Friday, July 03, 2009

creatures in the dusk

He was a stranger in the laguna. Every bit as exotic as the inhabitants were to him.

The day hung between that moment when the sun imposes a harsh curfew and the night beckons things better not met on one's own.

The laguna during the day is as deserted as the Sahara.

But, with the moon high in the sky and the sun setting, a different world began to emerge.

With the sun up, the dark water offers no sounds. With the mere promise of darkness, birds began their perpetual tuning up -- as if their conductor would show up. He never does.

But the sounds were captivating -- if only because there were so many. Somewhere he read that 75 species of bird make their home in the laguna. And they all seemed to be sporting their Bob Goulet pipes -- except they remembered the lyrics.

Darkness provides cover for birds that have hidden all day from the searching eyes of eagles. Eagles who have apparently returned to their exalted place on the national bandera.

Flashes of black and yellow. Black and white. Glaring white. A veritable avian Independence Day display.

The stranger stands entranced. Even the loud recording of the heart-rending ballad wafting from the little cottage where he wished he lived could not distract him from the birds (or from sentences that Faulkner would have left undisturbed in a dust bin).

As the brief bird song started tapering off, the percussive frogs took over.

But those were not the sounds that caught the stranger's attention. The plop of startled turtles -- a Greg Louganis not among them. The skittering of lizard feet against dried hyacinth. The slither of something on palm fronds.

And the distinctive sound of a large body as it slips below the surface. Making no more noise than the subtle pop of a Dom Perignon cork, but deadly for anything that ventures into its watery highway.

The blood danger did not start at the water's surface. There were plenty of plasma-seekers on land. The stranger was a walking buffet for the hordes of six-legged vampiresses that hang out in their humid singles bar.

Being part of the food chain may be a green compliment, but it was time for the stranger to return to bugless sanctuary.

He came to Mexico for many reasons. And this was one of them.

The laguna willingly gives up her sounds and her sights and her solitude. He decided to would take advantage of the gift more often.

And he did.


Laurie said...

I love the new picture. You have changed a lot since leaving the US. Strangely alluring, you are, in the this picture.

Steve Cotton said...

Laurie -- Actually, I think it is a photograph of Mel getting ready to leave town.

Islagringo said...

Very well written. Love the image of mosquitoes being vampiresses. I also like that you are now using what appears to be pictures that you have taken. (well, maybe not for this post, but I like your pictures better)

Joe S. said...

Okay, now I'm going to have read some Faulkner to see who really is the better wordsmith. Bravo.

Steve Cotton said...

Islandgringo -- Thanks. I thought you would enjoy that allusion. I took some photographs last evening, but they simply did not work for the piece.

Steve Cotton said...

Joe -- I could save you the pleasure. All you need to do is recall that we read Stranger in the Dust at Putnam.

1st Mate said...

Yikes, I heard there were crocs in the laguna. Cuidate! A golden lab was eaten by a crocodile in La Mazanilla last year. Keep the Professor close to you.

Steve Cotton said...

The Professor is in the hospital over the weekend having four umors excised from his neck. I will not let him near the laguna at night. Our crocs are a bit more shy that the Boca de Iguana crocodiles, but Jiggs is not very fast.

Calypso said...

Wow - that piece will give Felipe a run for his money ;-)

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- Now, that is a compliment. Muchas gracias, amigo.