18 Marzo 2014, 6:11 AM
Cusco, Cuzco, Perú
Cusco by morning. The Sacred Valley wakes to purple clouds that linger in the east, delaying the sunrise. The city's inhabitants do not hesitate, though. From this rooftop I see people of all ages walking, some carrying sacks of food to the market, some frantically waving down taxis or colectivos. In the distance, a woman sells something edible from a table on the sidewalk. There is a turquoise cloth over it and on top a large white sack, filled with what I can not say, but it apparently is tasty enough for several passersby. On the nearest corner men walk back and forth, chattering quickly like auctioneers, though red tile roofs obscure the nature of their enterprise from my view.
Dogs bark ceaselessly in all directions, and somewhere a lone rooster sings his morning solo. A chorus of small birds call and respond to each other among power lines and rooftops with a short riff. It starts with two notes, each about half a second long, with the latter slightly higher than the first. Then they end with a trill, about four "chirps" long.
The sun emerges now, pale. Somehow the lack of color makes it less warm. The birds' song fades beneath the growing growl of cars, motorcycles, and buses that filter through the stone streets.
The mountains--covered in smooth, close-cut green like a velvet blanket--stand watch over it all. They have seen far more beautiful days than this, and they have seen far worse. Unaffected, they know that they will see many more days than any of the little things that cluck, bark, chirp, or yell down below.