"When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained."---Mark Twain

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Sirens And Howls

When you hear sirens, you start lookin'.   Somethin's comin' and you need to get out of the way.

I can't tell one siren from another.    Sound-wise, they all sound the same to me.    I'm not tone deaf;   I don't pay attention.     I just start lookin' for a place to pull over and try to figger out where the squad car/firetruck/ambulance IS.   

I hate those sounds because they always mean somebody somewhere has a BAAAAAD problem of some kind. 

I went to the grocery store one day with my mother.       We were in the checkout line when we heard the sirens, and looked up to see a firetruck whizz by.     Ever The Smartass, I said to Mama:    "Looks like they're headed to YOUR house!"

My mother pointed out that I was NOT funny.

When we came to Mama's block......uh huh.     The downstairs bathroom was in flames, thanks to the water heater.    Had my sister not been home they would have lost it all.     I stopped making those kinds of jokes.

After following a screaming ambulance with my son in it once, I have a real loathing for sirens.    Didn't pay attention to the sound because I was busy praying.

Yesterday, on my way back to work, I ended up behind two ambulances headed out of town and I was relieved to find myself out of their way.

If one is bad, two has GOT to be worse.

I had been back on the job site for about thirty minutes when I heard howls.    Every dog in the boss's neighborhood..............howling.  

Sad, sad sounds.    Like they were crying.....sort of.

It's another one of those sounds that I hate to hear.    It makes my hair stand on end.

About 30 years ago Ex and I lived on the edge of town.    Just beyond our block was farmland, woods and pastures, and almost nothing else.

One evening, at dusk, I heard a dog howl.      It sounded different to me.    I had heard dogs howl before of course, but not like this.

It was........mournful.    Heartbroken.     Long, deep, painful sounds that I cannot describe here.

A few minutes later an ambulance tore past the house.    I remember running outside to see if I could catch a glimpse of whatever it was.

The following day I heard that a farmer, just down the road from us, turned his tractor over, killing him, just before dark.

I always think of that farmer when I hear dogs howl, and I thought about him again yesterday when I heard those hurt-sounding howls.    It gave me a bad feeling that stuck with me for most of the afternoon.

I just found out a little while ago that a man I knew in school died from injuries he sustained in a bad two-vehicle wreck.     That's where the two ambulances were going.

John Donne:  "Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."

Never mind "the bell";  I've never heard Death Bells.

I'm more worried about for whom the dogs howl.    

THAT I've heard.


  1. I was a fireman/EMT for years. I always dread the sounds of the sirens and wails of dogs.

  2. dog wails really hit the heart! its sad to hear sirens but those are short-lived and commonplace around these parts.