20 Mar 2010

the quiet that is Malacca

As I sit at the computer I listen to the music of the wind chimes on my verandah, feel the soft breeze on my cheeks and hair and hear the singing of the birds in my garden. Yes, you know it - I'm back where my heart is - Malacca. The exhaust fumes of Kuala Lumpur, the screeching tyres and horns of cars is a distant memory (though not so distant since I have to go back tomorrow). Here the only sounds are the sweet chirping of the birds, the soft sigh of the wind as it blows through the bamboo in the yard and the musical chimes of the angklung wind chime. (An angklung is a wind chime made of bamboo pipes and they create music as the wind brushes through the pipes). My house in Batu Berendam may not be out in the hills but the peace and tranquillity that we get there is the same. There are so are many species of birds as there are lots of fruit trees - mangoes, sweet guava and also papaya and these fruits welcome birds as they are soft skinned and sweet. Just listen to the quiet and in it one can hear the many sounds of the different bird species - jays, magpies, doves, mynahs and sparrows.  Once sitting quietly at the verandah I saw a kingfisher drinking in my fish pond. And Norlee my neighbour said it even caught one of the fishes in its beak and flew off, dinner or lunch in hand (or beak maybe).
In fact the garden at Batu Berendam (it means submerged stone) is a veritable bird watcher's paradise! I'm no bird watcher, hence dont know the names of many of these birds, but there are yellow feathered birds flitting through the bamboo, fat brown sparrows, elegant looking doves walking in pairs and the blue jays. Sometimes one can even see far in the skies a lonely raptor or hawk winging it.

I look down at the garden and smile at the hibiscus, 'fluttering and dancing in the breeze' to borrow a quote from Wordsworth. From the back garden I can hear the soft muted sound of rushing water as the water from my small waterfall flows over the mossy rocks. Two spirited sparrows squabble over a piece of bread, chirping madly at each other. Far away, over in the neighbour's yard I can hear the soft laughter of some children as they play in their family pool. It's all so lyrical it makes me want to break into song! How lovely to be home and get refreshed - how lovely to come back once in a while and forget all that noise and heat, away from the hustle and bustle and away from the madding crowd.

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