What You Don't Sense

Apart from one rainy night it has been a noisy sleep deprived week on the swake.  Kanti has been on guard and very vocal about letting the world know she is here.  She has barked a bit.  Her bark has been very loud and has echoed across the swake, bouncing back a nano-second after she has released it.  The barking nights have been a series of Kanti barks, then the echo barks, then the neighbors' dogs bark, and the coyotes jump in.  The order to that chorus has been different in reality because Kanti doesn't just bark randomly.  She is the perfect dog you know.  Usually those dang coyotes started the song with one of their unearthly howls, jolting me awake and giving me shivers.  Then the rest of the canine choir chimed in to reassure the humans that they are being protected and to warn the coyotes to shut up and go home.

It has been easy to blame the coyotes for the commotion because they are so vocal.  But there has been evidence of other critters on the move at night; slipping through the swake leaving only their tracks behind.  Sometimes they have been kind enough to use the driveway, walking within feet of Kanti's sleeping quarters.  One day last week when the master tracker of the swake was out surveying his domain he came across tracks of a doe and fawn on the driveway.

The tracks were evidence of traffic in the night that had fuelled the barking.  Kanti must have been so frustrated to be able to see the deer walking past; maybe they even lifted a hoof in greeting as they passed within spitting distance.  There have been moose tracks as well.  For the most part, the humans have missed seeing any animals.  We don't see well in the daylight without glasses, and we certainly don't see well at night.  We have disagreements about whose hearing is deteriorating and who is mumbling, which simply confirms that we don't share Kanti's hearing ability.  We don't share Kanti's keen sense of smell that tells her the animals are coming long before they arrive.  We have limitations.

We watched Kanti one morning and were reminded of our limitations.  After barking on and off through the night, she came into the house to enjoy her usual breakfast and treats.  Part way through crunching on her bone, she leapt up from her mat and raced to the front windows, barking at something.  The barking was uber loud and it scared the beejeebers out of me; I was not quite awake and revved up before the barking started.  Once my heart rate recovered, I noticed Kanti was sitting quietly in a state of total alertness, watching.  I looked the same direction and saw nothing but the leaves moving ever so slightly in the breeze.  No hawk circling the red-winged blackbirds' nests.  No porcupine scuttling across the swake.  Not even a mouse.  It made me wonder.  What did she see or hear or smell that I couldn't?  What other things happened throughout my days that I failed to sense?