The tinkle of a bell—tin meeting copper—
Shakes stiff bones to consciousness.
Still, awakening, my ears receive the day’s first sounds:
The rustle, crinkle, swish of sheets tossed back.
Teak floors leaking cracks of daylight from below
Creak under snappy, cracking, good-morning toes.
Screen doors pop, snap, click in and out of frames,
Ushering in fugitive mosquitoes.
Below me, solid teak doors slam shut,
And latches choke them closed.
Showers rush, fountains trickle,
And across the yard, I hear the tink-tink of breakfast dishes being set.
With every step, I bump into new sounds,
While familiar ones stalk me from behind.
The steady drone of instruments
Wraps itself around my head
It is an orchestra of unfamiliar sounds:
Ostinato of deep woodwinds
The tremolo of flutes
The pounding of tribal drums
Up and down and up and down—
The fusion is anything but Western,
And my ears take pause to absorb its newness.
The first five minutes of my day
Are nothing short of a symphony.
This piece was written and published during a month-long study tour to Thailand with Whitworth University’s Women’s and Gender Studies program.