coyote texting and birdsong

A big coyote howl not far from the open window woke me up. It honked out three or four big long yowls in an amazing nature’s-version-of-Dolby-5.1, but nobody responded and it must have shrugged and decided to split.

I knew the International Space Station was due to fly over a little after 5am and I wondered if I could catch it. I waited about five minutes too long to get up and check the time – the one night I didn’t have a watch on – and then I just couldn’t sleep any more.

From 5-6am or so, at least this time of year, there’s an explosion of birdsong in the high desert. I’ve known it the whole time I lived here, but I’ve always been content to get window-filtered snippets of it during the 15 or 20 times dogs wake me up during that hour, and I’m starting to realize just how much I miss. It’s like the whole world temporarily becomes a big, exotic bazaar where there are a thousand different languages and everyone’s shouting for your attention in totally different ways. I’m really a night person, but I might just switch around for a little while to catch this hour more often. I feel like getting up just to record this or something.

While I was taking in the amazing show, I had all sorts of the usual half-baked/half-asleep ideas, like about how the coyote howling was pretty much the same thing as someone bored trying to text their BFF and going “YOU UP?” a couple of times.

In the case of some of the really tricky, repetitive bird songs, I wondered if maybe birds had started out a billion years ago with complex and amazing languages and were originally capable of expressing thoughts and ideas in ways that would have made Shakespeare vomit with embarrassment, but then they developed some kind of technology that made slowly simplify their language to the point where each species is now basically left only with a single catch phrase expressed with their own still-elaborate cadence and instrument. Each male wakes up on a spring morning and just to shout LOL and OMG for an hour. From a tree. Enlightened species like our own hear it and think inspiring and condescending thoughts about how beautiful and charmingly repetitive these ‘lesser species’ songs are. (And then type it up to put on Facebook. Heh.)

It would be like opera singers eventually evolved into only singing beer commercial catch phrases in Morse code. “Less filling!!!!!” .– .- … … ..- .–. ♫♪♪♪♫♪♫♫ over and over, at 5am, for one hour. From trees.