There are some sounds that stir up very basic and raw emotions. Some man-made while others rise from nature. The rumble of a motorcycle. The roar of engines at the drag strip. The sudden crack of thunder in a summer storm. The cry of a newborn baby.
As the sun was set, the dark ink-blue sky settled into the tree line and the blue turned black. Night time settled on rural landscape in northern Ontario. I was multi-tasking, as I often do. We had just returned from North Bay, from shopping for back to school clothes and sharing a brief reunion with a girl who once attended our youth program. I stood outside barbecuing burgers and reading chapter two of Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger as the porch light gave the only functional glow. One of the sounds that stirs a soul rose from beyond the darkened tree line. The howling of coyotes filled the distant air.
A raw, basic connection was made when the sounds of the wild and heart of man met at a precise moment. Leaving the urban landscape to spend a weekend in the north reminds me that there is much more to life than the daily grind of work, the traffic, the constant night glow of streetlights and cityscapes. There is a very basic co-existence with nature.
I felt as though I was thrust back in time to a point where I shared the space with the wild. In the city, it’s easy. People rule and nature must adapt to the ‘advances’ of mankind. Here though, I think I am on their turf, subject to their rules. With every howl, I was reminded that I was not alone in the darkness. I am no longer the predator, in fact, I could be prey.
I was awakened at 3:00 a.m. I was in the house. I was sleeping, until the dog in the living room barked. The howling of coyotes was now so loud, it was heard from inside. I learned in the morning that they were in the yard around the house. Now, I understand that we were safe and sound in the house, but with only a patio door made of glass separating us, we were like animals in a zoo. I was on the inside, being kept from the animals. Maybe they were at the windows and doors looking in on us like circus side shows and their howling were laughs as they shared stories and jokes of other people they had seen in days passed. Maybe they tried to feed us and get us to wake up and do tricks for their pleasure and entertainment.
Probably not. But everyone has a story. Maybe, just maybe, even the coyotes.