To cope with the uncertainty of the coronavirus, Salida residents have begun joining a loosely organized national movement to howl at 8 p.m. every night outside their homes.

Gov. Jared Polis has even encouraged Coloradans to participate.

Participant Fay Golson said she began howling roughly two weeks ago after hearing about it from her friend through a Facebook post. She passed the word on through Facebook and began howling later that day. She said it was pretty lonely at first, but word began to spread locally.

Golson said there does not seem to be an official movement leader nor way to track the number of participants in Salida. She views the ritual as a way to relieve collective anxiety and pain caused by COVID-19.

“For me personally, it’s a howl for release of all the troubles that we all feel,” Golson said. “Along with the comical post on Facebook about neighbors’ reactions, some funny, some aggressive, many people post about their present grief, loss of pets, loved ones from COVID-19 or other illnesses. They need an outlet and contact with others.”

Golson said the practice is also intended to show gratitude toward health care workers and doctors.

She howls outside her front door for about a minute, but she can hear others continue even after she goes inside. She encourages other residents to join.

“It’s a harmless activity which warms your heart when you hear others join it,” Golson said. “It indicates a bond of compassion.”

A national public Facebook group called “Go Outside and Howl at 8 p.m.” was formed by Denver residents Brice Maiurro and Shelsea Ochoa and currently has more than 520,000 members. It can be accessed at facebook.com/groups/howlat8.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, the idea of howling was inspired by Ochoa’s friends and family in California who would howl at sunset. She was also inspired by residents of Brazil, where she lived recently, who cheered at sunset. Maiurro howled at the moon with his poetry group during back-alley poetry readings in Boulder.

From our sister paper the Mountain Mail at www.themountainmail.com

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