Howling at the moon


“Beautiful moon,” Raymond announced casually last night as he glanced out the front door (which faces east and has a window in it). Sure enough, it was a great big moon shining brightly and beautifully in the night sky over Queensborough.

In short order, though, clouds moved in and covered that bright moon partially, and then fully. And in the interval Raymond and I served ourselves up dinner and watched the final episode of Season 2 of Homeland. And it was late and Raymond went to bed. But I, being a night owl, was still up.

And then I heard the wolves. Or are they coyotes? Whichever, it is a high lonesome – emphasis on lonesome – sound. We have heard them here at the Manse late at night before, but we don’t hear them that often. As I listened to the howling last night, it struck me that it might have something to do with the moon. Was that a full moon, perhaps?

Then, suddenly, it was like every dog – and this time it was dogs, not just the wolves – had started barking. All at once. What was this? I went out to the front yard, and looked and listened. The moon was back out from behind the clouds, and was now high overhead. It looked to be full. And I swear that every dog (and every wolf, and every coyote) in and near Queensborough was howling at it.

Howling at the moon! Such a cliche. But I guess cliches, given that they generally express truisms, must come from somewhere.

The howling, and the coldness of the night, and the loneliness of the sound and the feeling that it generated, made me very glad to get back into the nice warm brightly lit Manse, where a fire – okay, a fake electric fire, but still – was burning in our cranberry-coloured Home-Hardware-special fireplace. A cozy warm house is a very good place to be on a cold night when the wolves and the dogs are howling.

Anyway. Today I checked out the moon situation (thanks, internet!), looking into why all the animals had started howling at exactly the same time, a little after 1:30 a.m.

And now I know: yes, it was indeed a full moon last night. And what exact time did it become full? It was 1:37 a.m.

Which was exactly when the dogs and wolves set up their commotion.

How do they know? And: isn’t life in the country amazing?

15 thoughts on “Howling at the moon

    • Well, the wolves aren’t close, Lorraine! (At least I don’t think they are.) And the dogs, which are, are all tied up. So it was thoroughly safe venturing out onto the Manse’s lawn, located as it is in “downtown” Queensborough. Still, it felt good (warm and comfortable and safe) to be back in the Manse afterward!

  1. Obviously the dogs and wolves were howling in anticipation of the BoSox advance to the World Series. Raymond, they were not rabid dogs, simply rabid baseball fans. They were announcing the arrival of the first authentic Boston Red Sox fan to live in Queensborough.

    • Classic comment, G&G! Yes indeed, there is World Series fever right here at the Manse. Now if only Raymond were actually able to watch the games here, and not have to rely on a very dodgy wireless signal…

    • Dave, I just want you to know that I saw this comment right after church at St. Andrew’s this morning, and basically I have been chuckling ever since. Too funny! The image it conjures up is something kind of out of Bugs Bunny!

  2. I could be wrong, but I think “those dogs don’t hunt”. Most of the calendars I just looked at say the full moon was actually Friday evening, about 7:30 or so EST. I did, however see 1 or 2 references to the time you mention in the post…..

    • Mark, it turns out that you are absolutely right – but the plot thickens. The time I quoted was Greenwich Mean Time, which would be six hours ahead of our current EDT. Which means the full moon for us was about 7:30 p.m., as you say – and I think that’s about when Raymond and I first heard the dogs/coyotes/wolves yipping and howling. But how to account for them all doing it again, with extra gusto, at the time when it would have been a full moon on GMT? The only thing I can think of is that the dogs/wolves/coyotes of the Queensborough area are very attuned to the full moon in all its time zones, and were howling to their counterparts across the ocean – the Werewolves of London, if you will. And don’t we all miss Warren Zevon?

  3. I think the initial howling was from wolves. I’ve heard them during full moons in my neck of the woods, too. I’ve heard coyotes yelping in the hills outside San Diego, though — quite different from the sounds the wolves makes here. Regardless, the wolves are beautiful creatures . . . from a distance.

    Of course, with Halloween close at hand, who knows what strange creatures may be lurking about?

    • Jill, as you may or may not have seen among all my ramblings here, our next-door neighbours in Queensborough have seen a pair of timber wolves on their property. And while that thought kind of sends shivers up my spine, I have to say I would love to see them myself. The wonders (spooky sometimes) of life in the country!

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