During the 80s when our house was new, Camillo used it only on weekends. Whenever possible. He traveled extensively but when home he came up to enjoy the silence, the solitude. No telephones, no TV, few neighbors, few cars (the road to Lumiar was still a dirt road used only by the local farmers), no one from his office even knew where to find him.
During the 90s we were living in Houston and came to Brazil only once a year or so, but always spent several weeks here at the house. There were no lights in the valley and we would sit out on the balcony with our drinks and watch the bright clear sky. Listening to the Silence.
In late 2003, we moved to Brazil and began living up here more than we were any place else. But now the modern world has moved in. The houses below have lights – lots of lights. The condominium now has street lights and the dirt road across the valley has streetlights. Not only did we have phones, but cell phones, Internet connections, cable TV, few stars and Parrots! living in the attic.
Not just one, but a family – and extended family by the sounds of it. They were having domestic arguments and fighting about where to put the furniture, screeching at one another for hours. The racket would start at sunrise, and again at dusk. We have called in specialist to rid the house of these noisy neighbors.
One year we put wire mesh under the eaves and over the water spouts – they tore it to shreds. One year we re-tied down the tiles, they found new ways in. We put in plywood walls in the closet and we could hear them come in at the chimney and scoot along under the tiles until they were back in the attic space. One of the workers put a rubber snake on the roof….. hum. We have had to patch the roof and re-run wires.
This last year we have watched them watch us. They sit on the top of the roof, along the window frames, on our bedroom window sill looking into the house but never entering our space. They watch from the trees. When we sit on the balcony they fly by in groups of 10 or 12 screeching at us, scolding or sit over our heads on the rain gutters and talk back and forth trying to decide what to do with us. Now they’re back! More of them than ever. We can hear them in the attic, in the eaves over the closet, and they seem to be remodeling the roof beside the chimney maybe enlarging the babies’ room. We can hear the babies crying for breakfast - a new generation that will think of our house as home….
I have suggested that we build an opening in the roof line, a dormer window with their own veranda. We could enclose the attic in wood and all the wires in PVC pipes and we just let them be there – Camillo doesn’t like the idea. Tomorrow another man will come and check to see if the babies are gone then we will re-wire with stronger wire – but I feel bad - this has been their ancestral home for more generations then it has been ours. What are we to do ?