The Art of Darkness

On Levitation

November 7th, 2007 by Cobwebs

First, a bit of background:

  1. I grew up in Southern California, where my experience with nature was largely confined to sparrows and sewer rats. I have since been bodily transplanted to a semi-rural area of Northern Virginia, where my relationship with the natural world is both immediate and confrontational. (Ticks? Snow? The Hell?)
  2. Our yard is unfenced and backs up to some woods.
  3. We have a dog,* of the large-and-galumphing variety, who is black and thus invisible at night.
  4. And who views, “Come here,” as a suggestion rather than a command.
  5. Perhaps you can see where I’m going with this.

So, imagine yourself (or, rather, imagine me) on a dark and moonless night, chasing a happily idiotic dog who has decided to go exploring. Slithering across fallen leaves, scrabbling through unseen spiderwebs, you follow her crashings through the underbrush, and suddenly, very very close to you, there is this sound. For full effect, turn your speakers up loud and turn off all the lights in the room before clicking that link.

Underwear changed? Good.

Despite my certainty at the time that it was a fiend,** some subsequent searching allowed me to identify this as the distress call of a red fox. Which are the sort of foxes that live in the woods behind our house. Who were not happy to have a human blundering through their territory and, instead of slinking off silently and unobtrusively, decided to be loud and obtrusive all over my psyche. I don’t believe I touched the ground all the way back to the house, and have vowed to turn the dog into a casserole.

Man, I miss California.

*Actually we have two dogs, who defy several physical laws by each being dumber than the other. But only one happens to figure in this story.

**Although I don’t believe in haints, boojums, or spooks, in certain situations I am willing to entertain the notion that my skepticism may have been a trifle hasty.

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