Sitting on the couch, I first heard it. An animal noise?
Howling, over and over again. I knew we had coyotes in the area, but this sounded like a huge pack.
I went outside on the deck, and found my own husband barking and howling.
“It’s the 8 pm Howl!” he said.
“Didn’t you see it on Nextdoor? It’s a way to connect with neighbors, every night, people come out and howl.”
For 2-3 minutes, I heard the howling reverberate through the hills.
The next night, I decided I would try it. At 7:59 p.m., we wandered out on the deck.
“Argh, argh, whooooooooo.”
It felt primal to howl with all of my lungs expelling the air. A release from all the tension and anxiety that builds up trying to fend off the virus.
As I paused, the howling filled the nighttime air.
I’d read about the singing in Italy, the 7 pm New York City applause.
But howling just seemed so perfect for the Rocky Mountains Colorado. Especially tonight, as the glowing orb of the Super Moon casts the forest with its eerie glow.
Most of all, it gave me solace that others were out there. That I was not alone in this time of fear and never ending isolation.
I’ve never loved living someplace as I do in our log home in Nederland. It has given me a sense of peace I never had anywhere else. I see our home as my refuge.
But life is all about balance. When I worked as a Park Ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park and staffed the main visitor center, I craved alone time. I was happy not to talk to come home, collapse on the couch and read a book.
Now, the pendulum has swung the other way, I have so much alone time, I crave the ability to connect with other human beings.
It’s not just the nightly howl, but the other rare chances to connect.
Tonight, we walked with a friend in our neighborhood down the Summer Road. She on one side of the road a good 10 feet away, and my husband and I on the other side. It just felt good to talk to someone in person.
I’ve been doing Zoom and Teams with the best of them. Each week, I’ve been doing teleconferences both at work and with a local community group. I’m grateful to be able to talk with others going through this. And it’s definitely better than nothing at all.
But it doesn’t replace the in-person human connection.
So as long as “stay-at-home” is the norm, I’ll be out there on my deck, howling away.