Monday, December 20, 2004

Happy Holidays and Eeerie Screams in the Night...

Okay, that got your attention, didn't it?

I was sound asleep this morning when I became aware of a loud, unearthly screaming, a sound I had never heard, a sound that was so loud you'd think the windows were open and we were sleeping on the first floor.

But we weren't. We were on the second floor, with windows shut tight against below-freezing temperatures.

Compulsively, I looked at the clock. 2:38-A.M. I wondered what creature it could be at this time of night. It sounded so unearthly that I did for a moment believe some aliens had crash-landed in the back yard and were screaming in post-crash agony. What else could it be out here in suburbia, so close to "civilization" that in the summer I can hear the steady drone of the Massachusetts Turnpike?

I was so frightened that it took me a few minutes to remember that my husband was there beside me. "Can you hear that noise?" I asked. "Yes." "What IS it?" "Some sort of animal."

Animal? He sounded so sure of that. But I'm one of those types that need to know what's going on. Grabbing my glasses from the nightstand, I quietly crept to the bathroom where I could get a good view of the backyard.

Nothing. Nothing but a very light dusting of snow.

I stood for a few more minutes, listening, and then crept quietly to my office where I scribbled a few notes to remind myself to research this in the morning. "2:38. 12/20/04. Foxes? Waaa Waa oooh oooh..." Not having the skill of musical notation, I wrote two straight dashes, and something that looks like an elongated N -- my primitive shorthand for "The first sounds were flat, and then there was a sound that rose and then fell again and rose again." And in my sleepy/scared state, I'm sure I was totally inaccurate in my observations of the tonal changes, but I knew I'd hate myself if I didn't at least TRY to note them.

A Google search this morning indeed yielded results that pointed towards foxes. Grey foxes, even, which I've seen by the driveway. Apparently they mate in December and have these eerie calls...

One web site had a number of sound downloads. One reminded me of a noise I had heard a year or two ago that would have had me dialing the MSPCA had I been able to figure out the direction from which the sound came. It was something that sounded like someone strangling puppies...

And so as we near towards the returning light, a persistent theme in religions around the world, I am again reminded of the dark, the mysterious, the unknown...

I just wanted to wish you all a bright Yule, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy Belated Hannukah.

Have a safe and healthy holiday,

Copyright © 2004 Morven Westfield

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