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Monday, September 12, 2011

The Hallowed Howl

Our open window was only hinting the promise of dawn that morning last week as we lay on our backs beneath it, giggling like school children.

We have lived in this house over three decades and we thought we knew our neighborhood, and would have argued that there was nothing new under (or before) the sun.   But, apparently we didn’t and there was.

I was roused from the perfect sleep by a siren approaching from the east.   Listening for sirens is a very old habit left over from years of being a firefighter’s wife.    Back then I would have a moment of fear and worry, and then I would shake it off and whisper a prayer of protection for him and his co-workers.

So, there I lay. Still availing a quiet prayer for life and property.  Also hoping the emergency vehicle would pass quickly and let me go back to sweet snoring ignorant bliss. 

Then I heard it.  A dog began to howl its deep base accompaniment   of the whining siren.  That low toned vocalization was soon joined by another.  Then another.  Then another. Then another.  Soprano howls, and alto howls, and tenor howls. The doggie voices continued to unite in chorus.  My head rose a bit off my pillow and matched the silhouette of my husband’s, who pushed up at the same moment

“There must be scores of them!” He whispered in shocked surprise.
“Unbelievable.” I responded and then questioned, “Have you ever heard that number of dogs in our neighborhood before?”
“No! Never! ”

Both of us lay back on pillows listening. The siren peeked as it passed and echoed into the distance towards downtown, the canine “whoooowooos” matching the crescendo in a way that vaguely reminded me of the “wave” in a sports coliseum.
The voices faded slowly.  Finally, there was only one left - the high-pitched yodeler that lives a block west.  It yodeled for another 30 seconds, then stopped.  Yodeled another 10 seconds then stopped.  Made one very high pitched squawk and stopped.

Silence. Broken immediately by the two of us as we started howling… in laughter. After 33 years in that box seat,  we were audience to a clandestine but phenomenal canine symphony performance.  The halloooooowed howl.

14 comments:

bichonpawz said...

I LOVE it! Bet you will never, ever forget that sound!!!

Molly said...

Interesting phenomenon, but I am glad that it stopped quickly.

chrisb said...

Fascinating. The only thing we get the anguished howls of a dog who lives a few houses from us and never seems to get taken out. I feel so sad for it!

Sandy said...

That's funny. Generally, when I hear that many dogs, half of them are coyotes!

Jan n Jer said...

That is an eerie sound...not a good one to wake up to. Bet you couldn't get back to sleep after that!!!! You write so well Pamela!

Sayre said...

I would have loved that. Oddly, neither one of my dogs will howl. We used to have "sing-a-longs" with our previous two dogs, who would gleefully join in when we howled. It was great fun.

Gattina said...

What a story, lol ! Here in our street all dogs have been replaced slowly slowly by cats and they don't howl, but they can also be quiet noisy !

Faye said...

Sometimes on a quiet evening we have a little concert in my neighborhood--more like a quartet, not a full-blown symphony as you enjoyed. My neighbor has just rescued a little beagle pup and as soon as she gets over being so scared I'm sure she'll change our music scene.

Ditto Janis's comment--love your writing style.

Amanda said...

I remember Carl used to howl at the sirens, too. He would've been the bass in that orchestra of howls!!

grammy said...

I love to read your funny stories like that. You are a very good writer and I miss your posts (o:
I love it when I laugh with my husband of 38 years...over things that are just... funny to us (o:

Last night the train was extra loud. blows several times and we are only 4 or 5 blocks from it. I think it was EXTRA loud last night and I wondered if it was because of the light shower we just had....dogs howling...wasn't it the full moon last night???

Karmyn R said...

I'm thinking you are lucky you don't live in a big city where the sirens would be going all the time - there'd never be any sleep with all that howling going on.

Far Side of Fifty said...

My nephew next door has a beagle..she is funny too, and barks at everything.
Chance rarely barks..except of course when we leave him all alone:)

I enjoyed your story! A moment shared that you will recall forever:)

Intense Guy said...

Hmmm....that must of been something.

I wish I could hear like that.

Kathleen said...

That is crazy fun! At first I thought this was leaning towards a Hitchcockian ending... But laughs are much more fun!

http://www.mskathleen.org/2011/09/road-tripping-through-wine-country.html