Stuck at home waiting for good news about the COVID-19 pandemic? It’s enough to make you want to scream, right? Why not howl instead?
That’s what Hailey residents from South Woodside to Northridge, China Gardens to Deerfield are doing each night at 8 p.m. It’s an opportunity to blow off a little steam, connect in a primal way with neighbors and express gratitude for those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hailey resident Sara Gilman brought the idea to the valley from a friend in Mill Valley, Calif., where a similar group of howlers was covered in a news article.
Gilman posted a link to that story on the Facebook page “Uplift Blaine County.” From there, she worked with friend Brandies Coshow to spread the word through additional emails, texts and Facebook posts.
Gilman and Coshow are local teachers. Coshow started a Facebook post on Saturday night calling for a community howl at 8 p.m. in support of nurses and doctors, grocers and delivery drivers.
“Our gratitude will be ongoing with an 8 p.m. nightly howling ritual,” Coshow wrote on Facebook on Sunday. “Keep spreading the word, especially to East Fork, Triumph and Carey.”
By Monday, hundreds of howlers were stepping onto porches and walking into the streets each evening throughout the Wood River Valley to let loose with a visceral expression that goes beyond words.
Facebook celebrations of this recurring audible flash mob, including videos, are then posted online. One video demonstrated that the sound of howls could be heard from the top of Carbonate Mountain west of Hailey.
“Our block, Buttercup, Northridge, Hiawatha, Silver Sage ... rocked it, OMG!” wrote Robin Davis. “Hopefully, our English Setters are not scarred for life! Thank you. Cathartic!”
“It was the most beautiful sound,” said R.L. Rowsey, a theater impresario who lives up on the bench above old Hailey. “Our voices, which are scared right now, were big and bold and beautiful.”
“Bellevue rocked the house!” wrote Lauren Hoover, from Third Street in Bellevue. “My little girl LOVED it. Thanks to whoever suggested that!”
According to Coshow’s Sunday Facebook post, howlers were also heard in Ketchum and Sun Valley.
“I’ve never been so proud to live in Blaine County! 5B you’re amazing!” she wrote.
Chris Leman, Wood River Valley trail coordinator at the Blaine County Recreation District, wrote on Monday that some nurses staying next door to him were out in their driveway howling too.
“One of them exclaimed, hearing all the howling, ‘Oh, this does my heart good!’” Leman wrote.