Cock-a-Doodle Days

The roosters of Tebesaya are at it again. But there’s something different in the air today; it’s the first morning since I arrived in Ubud that the sun is nowhere in sight. I can see already that it’s going to be an utterly sunless day. Which might explain why these creatures are hooting long after their normal 6 am check-out; it’s already past 7 and their pre-dawn symphony is in full swing. Full tilt. Everything’s a little off kilter when the sun doesn’t shine in Bali.

Tebesaya: The banjar or village – more like a neighborhood – where I’ve been living for many weeks. I’ve been pondering the meaning of Tebesaya. I’m now convinced that it means The Endless Valley of Roosters. Or Rooster Heaven. Because I swear that the entire outstretched space in front of and on either side of my guesthouse is swarming with roosters.

In fact, when I awaken to the cacophony each morning, the sounds are so crisp and clear that I’m sure a rooster has parked himself outside my door. Ringleader of the Tebesaya tribe. I wait for a peck-pecking sound, signaling his arrival. Nothing. Rock-star rooster, please turn down the volume!

What do they crow about so regularly and insistently? Are they checking in with each other, to see who has made it through another night unharmed? Which of their ilk was decapitated during yesterday’s cockfight? Are they strategizing on how to avoid today’s possible culling? Do they wonder whose turn it is next to be sacrificed on the altar of this-or-that ceremony?

To be fair, it’s not just the roosters going amok; the swallows are flitting about, swooping so fast through my terrace area that I am forced to flee into my room lest they nick me in the face. The cats are creeping around on the roof, turning back with a glare. An abundance of frangipani bouquets have miraculously grown from their shoots overnight.

The air is thick with pending thunderstorm, smoke is wafting in the air (burning garbage or satay grilling, I can’t quite distinguish); my trusty little cecaks (geckos) are slithering around on the walls and windows; the tokay (larger, talking gecko) slinks back into his daytime hiding spot; and the neighbor lets out a noisy yawn while prepping materials for his daily quota of batik paintings.

I settle into modified lotus and begin to meditate. Before I know it, the sounds have noticeably dissipated, echoes barely lingering in the distance, and I am grateful that yet another round of rooster-morning-mania has come to an end.

Ahhh. Silence. But not for long; here comes the motorbike brigade.

Rooster Supermodel (where else but in Bali...)
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