Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hark, hark

I believe that there was an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show which had writer Murray Slaughter beginning his long-planned novel with the words, "Somewhere, a dog was barking." I guess every writer has what are for them evocative sounds -- voices in another room, a train whistle, the lapping of water. With me, for reasons that remain obscure, one of those sounds is dogs barking. I've been sitting here in the spring evening -- there's daylight after dinner now -- when my thoughts were interrupted by barking in the distance. A block away, a mile away, who knows? It struck me as the sound of life, somewhere out there -- the opposite of isolation -- a sound of striving, of longing, of a need to talk to someone. It reminded me of the book 101 Dalmatians, where the dogs of England exchange news at the "Twilight Barking" every evening. I always loved that idea -- of a vast communication over distance and space, dogs with their own world of gossip to share. Well, who knows why dogs bark? As the light goes I think I could lie here and listen to them, and all the other noises of the world, a long, long time.


Mary Aalgaard said...

I also think about the twilight bark and liked that part when watching the movie. It says something, though, to admit to liking the sound of barking at night. Most people plot strategies against the neighbors, or wonder how far out in the country they'd have to move to get away from other's noises.

Laura Canon said...

I've been on that end, myself. I like barking...when it doesn't go on too long.