Why Are Wyomingites Howling at the Moon?

in News/Coronavirus

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

Residents of the Cowboy State are now taking part in a global movement that’s got its participants howling at the moon.

Even Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr decided to get in on the howling over the weekend.

“My daughter lives in Boulder and mentioned people howling, but I didn’t think much of it then,” she said. “Then I got invited to a neighborhood howl via Twitter, so I started Googling more about it.”

On Friday night, the mayor stepped outside her home and howled. She admitted that at first, it seemed a little awkward, but the more howls she heard, the more fun it became.

“It was a nice relief and something I’d never really done before,” the mayor said. “It was like doing a new yoga pose.”

For the last few weeks, people from all walks of life have gone out on their porches or leaned their heads out of windows and howled at the moon. The movement was launched by a couple from Colorado, Brice Maiurro and Shelsea Ochoa, who created a Facebook group called Go Outside and Howl at 8pm as a reaction to the state’s shelter-in-place order at the end of March.

Nearly a month later, the group has surpassed more than half a million members, with people posting about howling all over the world.

They howl for loved ones. They howl alongside pets. They howl in frustration at the isolation they’re experiencing. They howl to be a part of a community.

“Time is a crazy thing,” Maiurro wrote in a post in the group on Monday. “As much as we’ve largely collectively made a decision as to what constitutes a second, a minute, an hour, time doesn’t always feel so linear. Consider your relationship with time today.”

Thousands of posts flood the group nightly, with people posting pictures of family members who might have passed during the pandemic, videos of their dogs howling at the moon or just stories about their day or week.

Some people post about the responses they get when they howl, which can include everything from a howl back, a yell to keep quiet or even sometimes a meow or a bark in return. But no matter who they are or where they’re from, the howling brings them a little closer together.

Our little howler

Posted by Chris Renfer on Sunday, April 12, 2020

The rules of the group are simple: go outside and howl at 8 p.m. every night. “It’s a cathartic and gratifying experience,” the post from Maiurro on Monday said.

Mayor Orr said her first howl was so cathartic, she decided to do it again Sunday night.

“I got some howls in response from my neighbors, which was exciting,” Orr said. “I think it’s just a really unique way for us to shout each other out by saying, ‘We’re here. We’re OK. We’re going to get through this.'”

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