The neighbors’ tiny dog has been making his anguish audible all morning. He’s just a few ounces of fluff, thus his human providers compensated for his size by naming him “Bear.” His vocal extremities do give him a large presence.
I went to the keyboard to determine his pitch and range. He starts on a high D, more than two octaves above middle C, and slides chromatically in a downward glissando, landing on G. The glissando is repeated rhythmically, followed by a beat or two of rest. Occasionally, for variety, he soars upward to a trill on high-high G. Very occasionally, the Bear decides to be a dog after all, and gives out a few yips, a lyric soprano version of a bigger dog’s bark.
I suspect Bear is exercising his vocal cords because he’s been left alone, and he doesn’t like it. Then, as I listen more deeply, I hear not just a lonely dog. I hear him singing in unison with all Creation. I hear the deep songs of sorrow from the endangered orcas’ calls, the distant yodel of migrating cranes, the angry screech of eagles, the caustic commentary of crows, the sassy yap of coyote, the howling wolf.
Ah, yes. Wolves. Sad news this week from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The agency had to cancel a series of fourteen statewide meetings about wolf management because officials feared violence. Not from the wolves, mind you, but from both wolf-partisans and wolf-haters. Threats on Facebook were emanating from both sides.
Instead of meetings, the wildlife agency invites the public to respond to an online survey. That’s not good. If we humans cannot come together face-to-face, listen and learn from each other, agree to disagree in pursuit of solutions, we’re doomed. In my worst nightmares, that’s how I see climate change progressing: instead of humanity joining in harmony to rescue this extraordinary planet, we’ll engage in tribal fights, clinging to our delusional beliefs about what we own and/or have a right to.
Sunday, Sept. 1, is the Global Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. It’s the first day of the Season of Creation, observed worldwide by both Catholics and Protestants, ending Oct. 4 on St. Francis of Assisi Day. Christians are asked to pray and celebrate with Creation, focus on the story of Earth, and commit to a ministry of healing Earth. I particularly like this prayer from Australia:
God, our Creator, help us to love
all creatures as kin,
all animals as partners on Earth,
all birds as messengers of praise,
all minute beings as expressions of your mysterious design
and all frogs as voices of hope. Amen.
While I was writing, my neighbors apparently returned home. Bear has been silent. I don’t often find frogs on the riverbank, but maybe in this moment of silence I’ll be able to hear the frog’s voice of hope. Just a mere peep, but worth listening for.