Saturday, December 27, 2008

A chorus

It began low and melodious, a sorrowful song carried on the wind from somewhere out of sight. Whatever signal started it was lost to me, though I'd been hoping I'd be lucky enough to hear a sing-along among the wolves while I was there visiting.

I first remember hearing a raven cronking overhead and laughing in delight at the novelty of that sound as I stood among a group of wolves. There are places where that occurs naturally, but NJ isn't one of those places. Quickly the sorrowful sound of one wolf became a haunting and surreal song, something like being inside a fire horn or a train whistle, as the urge to join the chorus traveled from one wolf to the
next. The sound surrounded me and gave me goosebumps!

This particular wolf, Black Star was his name, I think, was the most wolfish-looking of them all - always very wild and fierce - except when he began to howl, then he looked comical as he contorted his mouth to suit his trademark song. His voice was the loudest and most dissonant... his song rising and falling as part of the symphony.

13 comments:

Jayne said...

I can imagine that was quite an experience being there during their howling. Maybe they were sending a message to everyone that a nice visitor was taking photos and that they should show off a bit. :c)

cedrorum said...

Wow, great pictures. I think I can see the wildness in the eyes of Black Star. This brings back memories of hearing the coyotes howling chorus when I was doing telemetry work out west. It was surreal how one would start and then the voices would project from all directions of the canyon I was on top of. Hope you have had a great Christmas.

NCmountainwoman said...

The wolf howl is one of the most identifiable sounds around, so haunting and mysterious. Loved the pictures.

Dave said...

I meant to leave this comment back on Dec. 21 when you mentioned the raven setting them off: have you read Bernd Heinrich's Mind of the Raven? The subtitle is "Investigations and Adventures with Wolf-Birds," and as I recall he suggests a coevolutionary link. Ravens often signal the existence of possible prey to wolf packs, he says.

Mary said...

"while I was there visiting." Where were you? Those are great photos. The sound of wolves make me shiver.

Mary

Bev said...

Wonderful account, Laura. Around my area, it seems like the sound of a dog barking in the distance will often trigger a round of coyote howling.

LauraHinNJ said...

Bev: Neat... wish there were coyotes here.

Mary: I went to a sort of *zoo* to see them... I posted about it last sunday.

Dave: Thanks... no that's one of his that's on my list.

I've read that idea that they each watch one another to locate prey, tho.

NCMountainWoman: Yeah... very neat to hear.

LauraHinNJ said...

cedrorum: Thanks, yeah. That sounds very cool... too bad you didn't have the chance for wolves, too.

Jayne: Maybe!

Julie Zickefoose said...

I'm loving these wolf posts. I hope you'll continue to unleash them on us--I know you have hundreds of photos!

I remember walking in urban Richmond VA one day and coming on a chain link fenced backyard with a huge cream-colored wolf pacing around in it! I stopped and petted him...he was so sweet, but there was that "otherness" that just took my breath away.

LauraHinNJ said...

Hi Julie: You're wrong actually... I've near a thousand pics!

(Ridiculous)

I'm guessing that was a wolf-dog mix? Can just anyone keep a wolf in their yard, sweet or no?

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