It is dark

Volcanic outcrops huddle, as if for warmth.

Towering above the darkened rice paddies, they protect this valley, sturdy gods, steadfast.

The gray sun bid adieu hours ago, stars peeping through a canopy of trees. This should be a time for silence.

But the valley has other ideas

Rhino peers across the pond at the flashlights, intermittent, dancing across the cliffs, but mostly pointed down

At the water.

We get quiet

And really listen

The voices of night fishers, poised like cranes, women and men, make their way to our ears

We wonder what they are saying; trading barbs, tips for the best catch, sharing a joke punctuated by a hearty, bouncing laugh

Or, just reassuring shouts, a form of echolocation, to ground and orient the darkness

Their calls to one another slowly fade as the quiet rhythm of their work takes hold, whatever it is they harvest hits their buckets with a satisfying choonk

Step, pull, toss, choonk

Step, pull, toss, choonk

And then, when a bucket is full, the sound of a hundred shells empties

As we wonder what they are searching for, we marvel at the symphony of what must be tens of hundreds

of frogs

and crickets

and lizards


He whispers

Earlier when I was yelling the echo lasted forever

And it was super loud

So this could be maybe, like, 10 frogs

He melts in for a hug, I kiss his head gently

He’s getting so tall, impossibly so

Are you going to sleep?

Not yet. I’ll be in soon.

Goodnight Papa

‘Night boss

He wanders around the corner, a ghost in the night

And I have a few more moments for song

Published by Radutti

Teaching in Ha Noi, screwing things up daily but surviving to write about it. ...everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

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  1. This is a beautiful recording of the song of your evening. I so enjoyed the idea of your balcony being a cliff with Rhino by your side. You have definitely become a master of mindfulness. Sitting still and listening is a great source of inspiration. Thanks for this reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

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