Wednesday, April 11, 2012
By John Brock
These fabulous spring mornings as I go out on my front porch to greet the day and listen to the wonderful sounds of nature, I am reminded of an evening long ago when my dog and I created the magical Lakeside Canine Chorus.
It was a beautiful summer night at our home by a lake in the Carolina foothills. Although the lake had a fifty-five-mile shoreline, it was more or less compact because of the multitude of small hills surrounding the water, thereby, creating a lot of coves. It was easy to see across the lake at any point. As we all know, water has a way of carrying sound. Indeed, it seems to amplify as well. On this particular evening, I proved both points.
My home had recently been silenced by the departure of a gaggle of sons we had raised to adulthood. They had flown the coop and my wife and I were suddenly empty-nesters.
As any parent can tell you, after twenty-plus years of raising children, things grow gloomily hushed when they grow up and leave home for marriage, college, adventure or all three. In fact, life around the house had become somewhat boring.
Thus was the case the night my little dog and I stepped foot (and paws) onto the carpet of nighttime silence surrounding our home.
As I gazed across the lake in the bedtime darkness of the summer evening, I was exceedingly sensitive to the eerie quietness and decided impulsively to do something about it. To relieve the monotony — if for no other reason.
My little dog looked puzzled as I broke into howling like his canine kin but he soon joined in the caper. In less than five seconds, a host of dogs joined our choir. The cacophony of canine chorus quickly spread across the lakeside as dogs up and down the shoreline joined in. To me, it was a lovely effort.
I alternately howled, growled, barked and yelped as similar responses were invited into the harmony of our rendition. It was almost like leading a symphony orchestra. With a deep-throated growl, I could call in the bassoons as the Rottweillers chimed in; call upon the violins with my own version of a hound dog howl; my sharp yippy bark beckoned the Poodle flutes and the piccolos played by Chihuahuas. I artistically added a little staccato embellishment with an occasional sharp yelp, yelp, yelp of the beagles.
It was beautiful I tell you!
As canine voices swelled through the nighttime sky, my wife, who by this time had appeared on the deck, thought I was crazy. She failed to appreciate the beauty of our little symphony. She saw it as something other than creative genius.
But my little dog enjoyed it.
For several nights in a row, we would go onto the deck and start up our concert. That is until a delegation of neighbors, who also failed to appreciate the beauty of the moment, appeared in our driveway to request that I cease this madness.
Some of these folks were the same ones who had a similar request during the “Squirrel Episode” a few months earlier.
I grew up with animals. In fact, according to my wife, animals love me. They approach me while shunning others. All of which suits me just fine until they start messing with my stuff.
We had tolerated squirrels around our house for years. But one day, for some unexplained reason, they decided to eat my house! That’s right. They started gnawing on the cedar siding of our home. In just a few days, the little boogers had done hundreds of dollars of damage and I was forced to drop my shroud of environmentalism and ignore the well-worn admonition “they were here first” nonsense. My “nesting” instinct superseded my love of animals as I became determined to halt their destructive progress – much for the same reasons I think capital punishment has its place.
I got the old twelve-gauge shotgun out of its dusty habitat and fired away for several days to bring an end to the ingestion of my whole house. We soon lived in a squirrel-free zone but not before the neighbors accused me of creating a disturbing early morning ruckus with my firearm.
Some people just have no concept of the nesting instinct and the protection of one’s domicile.
And then there was the Canada Geese episode. Anyone who feeds these vile but handsome creatures offers an invitation akin to tolerating unwelcome guests who descend upon the pretense of a brief visit but stay forever while taking over the entire household. They both must be dealt with.
I found that a long string of exploding firecrackers solved the situation quite satisfactorily while causing no physical harm to the geese. It was not long before the Canada aliens gave our property wide berth. But, not before another visit from the lake Gestapo. I never did get to try the firecracker solution on uninvited guests.
We moved shortly thereafter and the neighborhood reverted to the dreary stillness — devoid of an occasional shotgun blast or the explosive staccato of firecracker detonation.
Or the beautiful Lakeside Canine Symphony.
John Brock now lives, sometimes quietly, in Georgetown County where he can be reached by mail at this newspaper or by Email: email@example.com