Friday, December 26, 2008
The human noises that intrude on my woodland walks are usually something I resent. Traffic sounds, the rumble of trains, the growl of distant machinery--and above all, the sinister whine of chainsaws--make me grit my teeth. I have to discipline myself to ignore them, and not let them distract me from the singing of the birds or the rustle of a vole in the fallen leaves.
But human noises are animal noises, too, and sometimes our species harmonizes with others in delightful ways. This morning I was near the edge of the park when a siren sounded at the nearby fire station. Then the fire trucks began to scream, and somewhere in the distance a cop car chimed in, growing louder as it approached. A pack of dogs, probably penned hunting hounds at one of the houses just outside the park, began to yelp and sing. All together they made quite a concert, and I smiled because my own dogs like to sing duets with sirens. Then from the top of a ridge perhaps a hundred yards away, a solitary coyote cut loose with a full-throated howl, as if to say, You guys are pathetic, let me show you how it's done.
Photo of a gray wolf by Retron from Wikimedia Commons.