Time for bed in Somoto Canyon

31st August 2011 by Paul
Camp in Smoto Canyon

Camp in Somoto Canyon

There is no sensation of air at all.  It is utterly still and the temperature is the same as my body. It’s as if all the air has disappeared, the only clue that this is not the case is that I am still breathing.

I’m standing next to our truck, but its faint outline is only just distinguishable against the night sky. Overhead, the sky is ink black, and dotted with a billion stars winking against the thin smudge of the Milky Way.

As my eyes grow more accustomed to the dark, I can just make out the tops of the trees and the crests of the hills that surround us.   Beneath the ragged horizon there is the occasional blink of light as fireflies signal their presence to would-be mates.

But whilst the night is thin on visuals, it’s as if the volume has been turned up on our world.  All around me there is the rhythmic rasp of cicadas.  Occasionally a frog croaks somewhere off near the river, like a creaky door needing oil.  Moths and other unseen insects buzz around my head, attracted by my breath, their tinny sounds approaching and receding like tiny motorcycles buzzing by at high speed. 

Camp in Somoto Canyon

Camp in Somoto Canyon

We are camped at a fork in the river, and so from my left I can hear the gentle rippling sounds of slow moving water against the gentle banks, whilst from my right, there is a more hurried and unsettled rush of water foaming and boiling over small rapids.  Somewhere a fish breaks surface with a splash.

In the near distance a small herd of unseen cows are grazing, and I can just hear the feint rhythm of their chewing and the repetitive tearing of grass from its roots.  And closer, but still unseen, the hooves of a horse, or maybe two, slowly crunch their way to new grazing.  Far off,  a pair of dogs bark – a short lived exchange of aggression, which soon stills.

Suddenly a mule signals its presence in the canyon – its braying sounds like a bellows being worked hard with a rude leak.

I smile.

It’s time for bed in God’s country.

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