Get ready to howl at COVID-19 at 8 p.m. for emotional release
#Solidarityat8 offers relief for folks feeling cooped up
LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – If Wisconsin’s “Safer at Home” decree has you feeling like howling at the moon, here’s your chance: A movement inching across the nation encourages people to go outside at 8 p.m. every day and howl like a pack of wolves until the COVID-19 danger passes.
Jane Comeau of Onalaska wrote a note on Facebook Thursday evening that she had seen a posting from a friend in California that challenged neighbors to howl at 8 p.m.
The friend’s posting, which included a photo of a pack of howling wolves, said, “This Shelter in Place is tough. We need a release. Join your neighbors outside at 8 pm every night until this madness ends for a 5-minute howl.
“Howl to let others know you are in this with them. Howl to support our health care workers and first responders. Howl just because it feels good. Howl with your kids before bedtime so they can unwind.
“Just don’t touch your face! 😉
Comeau, who answered the call to yelp Thursday night, commented, “Just participated to be funny, and I gotta tell ya … it was worth it … neighbor and I entered into a howl off.”
Comeau, the mild-mannered communications director of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adorations and board member for the Franciscan Spirituality Center by day, is a hockey mom by night — and whenever her boys take to the ice — so you know damn well she’s got the lungs to drown out her neighbor.
Comeau’s posting brought a slew of responses from Facebook friends, such as:
Traci Brandl Guzzo: “Our whole valley did it and it was super cool to hear!!!”
Amy Tevis: “All of greens coulee just did this tonight and it was awesome! The valley was all howls!”
Jane Grace: “I thought I heard howling!”
Jane Comeau: “Jane Grace tomorrow night…howl back!”
So, the gauntlet is down: Tonight and every night until this global menace is beaten back, go outside and howl at 8 p.m. If you’re too skittish to go outside, just open the window and holler your fool head off.
A slight clarification: Wolves actually don’t howl at the moon out of instinct. Rather, their plaintive primitive pleadings result from loneliness and affection for others, according to a 2013 Current Biology study.
The study also indicated that the howls appear to match the quality of relationships with other wolves — almost as if they were protesting living in a quarantined state similar to Safer at Home. It also debunked previous suggestions that howls are a knee-jerk reaction.
“Our results suggest the social relationship can explain more of the variation we see in howling behavior than the emotional state of the wolf,” said Friederike Range of the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, who worked on the study.
So, in protest of COVID-19 — and to reclaim at least some control over our lives — let the howling echo up and down the valley between the mountains of Wisconsin and the hills of Minnesota at 8 p.m. Sharp.
Channel 8 News Now would love it if you’d take a video of yourself, families and friends howling — from a social distance, of course, so feel free to share your videos to the WKBT Facebook page.
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