The Roosters of San Blas
by Jane Onstott
Counting the seconds between a bolt of lightning and the clap of thunder that follows is supposed to help calculate a storm’s distance. Using this same principle, I’m timing the frequency of the rooster’s crow.
Unlike millions of folks the world over, I am not sleeping, but pondering the meaning of this fruitless serenade. What is the message of the strident-voiced cock? His calling, if you will.
There he goes again!
Is there something sinister about his urgent appeal? A portent of global warming? The end of the world?
I’m a nocturnal creature, often awake past midnight, but rarely when dawn’s watercolor wash replaces the inky nighttime palette. I have only recently been introduced to the pre-dawn time slot---there are no roosters near my home in San Diego---so it’s only natural that the theories I generate at that hour are... Quixotic? Idiotic?
As I try to formulate a rooster-related hypothesis (or even better, a ‘DaVinci Code in San Blas’ sort of storyline), my nocturnal nemesis shrieks again. The interval between crows is 10 seconds, then 12, and then 15. I’m wondering if my computer-savvy friend Pat could write some sort of program. Is this an algorithm?
I wouldn’t know. My left brain has gone back to sleep.
Gallo Pinto crows again, and I startle awake in my dark bungalow. I count to 28, but now silence prevails. The little bugger must have gone to sleep.
Giving up notions of a Nobel Prize for Science, I abandon hope of solving one of the world’s great mysteries, and predict simply another sleepy day in San Blas.