I spent three weeks living in northwest Spain, volunteering in an office that means a lot to me. I was housed in a beautiful house, cared for by the nicest people, and for the most part, I was left alone. But every morning, the neighborhood rooster woke me up and it forced me to examine how similar – or dissimilar – I am to a rooster.
To begin with, roosters are guys. I like to think of myself as a “guy” but I’m really a girl. I can’t say I identify with chickens and it’s been decades since anyone called me a chick, so I guess I walk away from this detail and keep moving.
Roosters get up early. You know, I like to get up early too because I can be assured that the house will be quiet and I can make my coffee without distractions or company. Once I have my coffee, you can sit and we can talk – but not before, please. I need that water pouring, that filter finding, and that coffee measuring to happen in silence so I can concentrate and not screw it all up. Once that is in place, my day can start.
Roosters strut. They walk around like they own the place. I don’t do that much. I tend to keep my head down – so much so that once when I was hiking in the mountains with my son, he had to remind me to take in the view.
And roosters crow. Now this is where it gets interesting. I’m a city girl – always have been – so I don’t have all that much experience with roosters but they make that noise every morning. And they don’t quit really – lots of roosters crow well into the afternoon. This particular Spanish rooster had an uncanny way of knowing when I was up, fed, dressed, and ready to leave. That’s when it stopped crowing.
So I wonder how it is this smallish bird can go from quiet, listening to the other littler birds chirping in the trees, to full-blown screeching at the incredible decibel levels that I heard every day. How does anyone go from full quiet to air-splitting noise? And is there no way for the rooster to get his message across any other way?
I can’t do that. If it’s quiet, I respect the quiet. If it’s noisy, I long for quiet. I cannot imagine bridging the gap between existing quiet and full-on screeching. I suppose that’s a flaw, that I should pipe up more, keep my head down less, make more noise. But I don’t. I used to. But now I don’t.
So, I envy the rooster. He got up every day before I did and experienced a tiny bit of Spain that I never saw – the pre-rooster dawn. Still, I am happy to have heard him have his say in Spain and now, just to enjoy the traffic noise that wakes me up these days in the Bronx. Once in a while, I will hear some little birds in the trees outside my window and remember that nervy rooster. I doubt he’d remember me.