Saturday, January 26, 2013

Howlin' at the moon

When he took out our dog Domino last night for a quickie, Stew ran into a high, full moon and a limpid sky chuck-full of stars. Later that night I looked outside and noticed as well the eerie platinum glow that covered the landscape.

A soundtrack accompanied the view. A myriad critters, among them coyotes and roosters, were up and about, intoning noises of approval, disapproval or maybe just conviviality. The burros were the most vocal, braying incessantly, I don't know if to celebrate the striking celestial display or complain that it interfered with their sleep.

By the silvery moon: A metal deer yard ornament.
(ISO 5000, 30mm, f5.6, 14 sec. exp.)
I wonder why a full moon causes such commotion among animals, and also, I've heard, among plants.

Dogs outside never stopped barking and howling. Our own three in the bedroom slept fitfully, letting out periodic little barks, peeps and yelps of annoyance, like they were telling their compadres outside to shut up already. Or maybe the moonlight slashing through the windows caused them to have bad dreams.

Cats make their own full-moon noises but those are too discreet for us to hear. Our cats normally sleep on the bed, lying motionless and immovable on each side like bronze bookends, but last night they weren't there. I spotted one of them, Fifo, sitting on the ledge of one of the bathroom windows, mesmerized by the sights and sounds outside.

This morning the cats returned to their usual spots on the bed but later we noticed that they had eaten every single scrap of canned and dry food put out for them, a rarity for this persnickety pair. Maybe it was something about the full moon, or a night of nervous pacing about, that whetted their appetites.

When we awoke there was no view from our bedroom. There was a fog so dense that it felt as if someone had drawn a gauzy curtain, about five feet beyond each window and around the entire house.

The dogs must have interpreted the fog as a clue to sleep an hour later. Outside it was completely silent too, the other animals also making up for a sleepless night.

But by eight-thirty or so this morning, the sun had already rent the curtain of fog.

Our dogs were up and about doing their downward dogs, shaking and wagging and demanding to go outside. Their wild companions also had resumed their usual mooing, tweeting, barking, howling or whatever other special ritual each one has for welcoming a perfectly sunny and balmy day at our ranch.

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