An alarm that is hurriedly hushed. Whispered goodbyes. Footsteps trying to be quiet and a door closing. His motorbike engine fading into the dark. Quiet again and then the birds, some so insistent that their voices rise in a crescendo of excitement. Perhaps some dogs and the sound of thick tyres on dusty rocks. Maybe the rain. And then the rustling, snuffling of awakening and a squeak. A happy sigh as tired arms reach for eager ones and the joyous scramble for food. Gentle sucking, happy sighing and of course, a burp. Now comes more rustling from behind the wall. "I want to wake up!" The sound of my assent and the rush of footsteps thundering out of bed. And so it begins - the chattering, laughing, cajoling, whining, chattering, whining, giggling, shouting, whispering, chattering, laughing symphony of the day. In the background the washing machine grinds, the bread machine thuds, clean dishes clink as they make it into the cupboard, soap sloshing round dirty cereal bowls, toys joyously dumped, floorboards squeaking, the rhythmic swish of the brush as I sweep away crumbs. Then the rush of leaving, shoes on, the excited skip of feet on the path and squeals at the sight of a friend. The adults speak low so the little ones don't hear as we tell stories of their exploits. Instead they giggle and shove, bustle and push. The sound of life at high pitch, full on, full tilt, full. The click of the nursery gate, snotty kisses and my feet sliding on wet grass as they try not to rush away. Sweet sighs from the little one relaxing into her morning nap, door closing and brief quiet. My finger tapping on the iPad screen, clothes pegs pinging and jumping on the line, a whoosh of parrots' wings, their chatter and a shouted hello to a friend walking by. Footsteps on the verandah and another language spoken. Stories of family, life and death, sorrow and joy, needs and hopes. My screen door closing and water running in the sink. Sometimes the sound of sitting, of silence, maybe of prayer. Sometimes, depending on the day, of tears for the stories just heard, for far away faces or just for release. But then there is the getting up again, the brushing away, the little one waking and the rest of the day coming.
Later there will be more - the beat of the helicopter returning, the grind of his motorbike engine getting louder and the creak of the shed door. Heavy boots on the path, excited children and greeting. His face brushing mine, stories of the day and togetherness drenched with squealing, chattering, laughing, bath time splashing, bed time praying and finally gentle breathing and doors closing. So many sounds. So much vibrant living.