Thursday, July 14, 2011

Animal Speak...

Nothing like a little screech in the night to bring all human conversation to a halt. Tonight, mid-sentence, my son and I did just that when from the woods we heard what we thought was the yowl of a bobcat. Silence reined as the sound was upon us and we both whispered out loud, "what was that?" We listened intently for a few minutes more and heard nothing, the screech we had just heard playing over and over in our minds, trying to decipher exactly what had made that sound.

This moment in time reminded me of a night many, many years ago when I was camping with my mother and two young sons. We were in a campground in Wisconsin and the air was filled with the lively voices of fellow campers, enjoying their campfires and the crisp night air. Suddenly, a chorus of coyotes yipped and sang and the campground fell deathly silent. Animals voices replaced human voices as the humans strained to figure out what exactly they had heard. What animal had made that sound?

Maybe it was a bit of fear that had quieted us both then and now. How close were these animals we wondered? A feeling of needing to get inside where it was safe came over us. Safe from what? From ourselves? Tucked into our homes, away from animals that we ourselves are, makes us less safe actually. With walls separating us from the the outside, we find ourselves removed from our true animal selves, the part of us that is in touch with the land and knowing how best to walk upon it without destroying it. Maybe those animal voices we heard had something to tell us and rather than listen, we ran away.

2 comments:

Grampy said...

Some animal voices cause animals and humans to run. Riding a pony as a kid what sounded like a bobcat screamed. I was on the ground and the pony ran across the pasture and into a barbed wire fence. This was 38 years ago in Southeastern PA. The pony got stitched up ok. I was used to falling off just not so suddenly.

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Terrific comment at the end of your post. We are so unfamiliar with the natural calls of wild animals that we feel they are threats rather than typical behavior calls. We need to become more acclimated with nature but first we need to allay our fears -- both inside our houses and outside. Great post! -- barbara