Justifiable Noise

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The Outer Point woods are quiet. I’ve come to expect silence when we enter them early in the morning. Aki is the most animated thing in the forest. She winds on and off the trail tracking something of great interest. The sun has yet to reach the beaver dam as we pass it but I can still make out the pale reflection of blue sky among the pond reeds.

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Eagle screams break the silence as one of the big birds flies over our heads. I hear a doleful song that sounds like a loon calling for its missing mate.  Another eagle screams outs and flies away. Aki and I head toward the beach and closer to the source of the despondent call. When it sounds again, I realize it is a woman calling for her missing dog. A male voice joins the woman’s but he is calling out to a different dog.

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The couple had camped at the edge of the forest. Sometime during the night, their dogs disappeared. They spread out into the woods and called for their missing pets.  It takes five of their shouts to disturb to flight two eagles that had been feeding on the tidal flats. Two more shouts force a roosting eagle to fly over to Shaman Island.


Until we stumble across the squirrel, we will hear the people searching for their dogs. I will want their calls to stop or at least figure out a way to ignore them. But I am a dog owner aware of the many ways harm can come to a dog in these woods. I keep Aki close as we loop back to the car. A few hundred meters from the trail’s end something that sounds like a congested rodent scolds us. When I stop to investigate, a squirrel climbs out on a nearby branch and continues its lecture.

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We would have never have know of this guy’s presence if it had kept quiet. I wonder what evolutionary edge squirrels gain by revealing their position by chittering. Knowing I will not get an answer to that question, I wonder if the squirrel is trying to tell us where to find the missing dogs. More likely, it is just complaining about all the noise.

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