On that bright note:
I was feeling funny about reading on the deck as the sun went down, last night. So I just shut my head up, and listened. Turns out, I wasn't the only one.
Mannion's experience of Night Noises reminds me of all the little details which go into even the most silent of nights. Not that his was such a one.
I love how the description is so apt, of the birds and the dogs talking to each other. They're animals as we are. Intelligence for pets and wild critters is something folk either blow off as limited instincts or to which we impart too much of our own style of thinking, anthropomorphizing them out of their perceptory context; forcing our perspective onto them without really knowing of what they're capable. It's a working relationship for the short-term of the few thousand years we've been best friends with dogs, at any rate.
A night when sounds travel. Low clouds, air damp. Fire horn sounds and it's not the one from our firehouse. The next town over's three miles away but that's to the south and this seems to be coming from the east which would put it six miles down the road. The horn hoots for several minutes, calling the volunteers. No sirens follow it.
Dog noises do. Every dog has to answer the first dog that barked in surprise at the fire horn.
The fire horn stops. The dogs discuss it for a bit and then settle down. Traffic dies. Nothing now but the peepers, clucking high, then low. cheep cheep cheep CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP cheep cheep cheep CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP.
But in some ways, biological mechanisms in all active life, they are just like us; animals with brains and hearts and livers and mouths and feet and eyes, etc. etc. etc. Like humans, they're interactively alive in their environment, and aware of it, aware of each other and us and everthing else around them.
So, yah, the thing that moved me is how natural it is for animals, including humans, to have various magnitudes of intelligence. But it was also the fact that I wasn't the only one sitting out amongst the night sounds with both a good book and a quietly open mind.
It's got a really cool ending, too.