Hackles Rising

I was sitting in my home office working on an article, when all of a sudden I heard a menacing, deep-throated growl. Getting up to investigate, I’m certain that I heard strains of scary background music from a horror movie as I told myself, “Don’t go in there!”

Cautiously entering the living room, I saw both Willa and Lexi in a crouched-for-spring stance, lips curled back, teeth bared, and hackles standing on end!

Eyes trained on the window, I saw what they saw—the shadow of an armless hand waving back and forth! At least that’s what it looked like through the partially-angled verticals.

Drawing the verticals fully back, the armless hand turned out to be a fallen leaf enjoying a gentle back-and-forth ride on gossamer thread—a diaphanous strand from a spider’s web.

What gets your hackles up?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
— Laurie Buchanan

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© 2012 Laurie Buchanan– All Rights Reserved

52 thoughts on “Hackles Rising

  1. Well, you never know what might be lurking beyond the safety of your own walls. For me it would be the things that go bump in the night. I don’t much care about what is making the racket outside my window, this is a lively place at night, raccoons, possum, deer and Lord only knows how many singing coyotes, howling dogs and yowling cats. When things get TOO quiet, mmmm….that makes me wonder. The things that bump at night inside my house are the ones that cause me to shoot straight up, then dive under the covers!

    • Sandi – I know that on more than one occasion you’ve come upon an extremely quiet snake in The Chicken Ladies condo. For new readers, this is a rather elaborate hen house where Sandi’s laying hens enjoy a pampered lifestyle 🙂

  2. I don’t have hackles anymore, I’m the crazy in all the movies who goes to investigate all the weird noises, my spousal equivalent even lets me sleep on the side of the bed closest to the door, but when I was very young (late teens, early twenties) it was when the telephone would ring and there was only heavy breathing or no sound at all on the other end (remember in the 60s and 70s when they made all the movies about phone calls coming from inside the house and it was always a serial killer), so a phone call with no familiar voice at the other end.

  3. While I can’t think what makes MY hackles rise, I have often been stymied by what makes the hackles rise on my cat. He’ll stare out the window for hours and then, for no apparent reason he’ll start to growl or call to me in his ‘go out’ voice (which really does sound like he’s asking ‘go out?’ with the inflection at the end and everything!) I will peek out the window and see nothing out of the ordinary and wonder what has sparked his interest. Is he seeing a leaf dangling from a spider web or has the squirrel he saw run up the tree to hide in its branches where I can’t see it? Maybe he just has an active imagination like I do! lol

    • Mywithershins – I’m of the mindset that believes animals — companion and otherwise — have the ability to see energy that we can’t. So maybe while you can’t see what your feline friend sees, he’s definitely got a bead on something in his crosshairs (so to speak)…

  4. My hackles rise when someone speaks harshly and disrespectfully to a child or anyone for that matter. I once saw a man bullying his a woman with two small children standing by crying. I did an illegal u-turn across four lanes of traffic, pulled up beside them, hopped out and calmly asked if she needed a ride. She looked at me and said “Yes!” I opened the door. Mother and two children dove into the car. I slipped around to the driver’s side and we left before the man’s jaw came to rest on chest in disbelief. Now that was a hackles up and low growl situation! It was only afterwards that I thought about what harm may have come to me if my actions hadn’t been successful. But I still sometimes giggle at what he must have thought as his family was spirited away from him in the heat of his rage.

    • Terrill – I LOVE THIS, and I can SO SEE YOU doing it! That was a tremendous gesture on your part — standing up for the under dog. And I can well imagine that be known, or unbeknown to you that kindness has been returned over the years. Thank you for sharing that story — it definitely put a bounce in my step today 🙂

  5. Yikes,out here in the country I have heard a couple of growls I didn’t recognize while taking the trash out at night. Since I learned there is a black panther living five miles down the road, I guess daytime trash duty will do! 🙂 I am glad you’re ok. 🙂

  6. Hi Laurie,
    Don’t know if I actually have hackles, but a do get an occasional heart-stopping no-breathing kind of pause when I think I hear things on the roof at night, or creaking floorboards in the house when everyone is in bed.

    • Winsomebella – The unknown can have the same get-me-going sway with me. I try to nip it in the bud with mental pruning sheers the moment I realize what’s going on. Most of the time I’m successful, but there are times when I’m a wee tad late…

  7. Drained from working on my taxes today I took a short break to read your blog post. . . .LOVE the title as it so aptly applies to my state-of-the-moment energy. I think I could successfully out growl both Willa and Lexi during tax season. . . .which answers the question “what gets your hackles up”!!

  8. My hackles get raised when people are disrespectful to others ( especially when they are assuming most folks are stupid) This disrespect can be little or large. So much of my work life has been around community activism – assisting students in getting our women’s health care program running in town, battered women’s shelter up and running, food coop and health education – adding in counseling and tutoring and family support…..
    Right now the attack on Women’s Health in the USA is astounding me and the GMO work of Monsanto is overwhelming me – So much hate towards women and children all in the public view and in order to score political points and feed the GREED….
    I passed out fliers for a the local food organization this past weekend to release some of my steam
    ZIP started barking this morning, but I realized it was at the chicken I was getting ready to cook and he was ready for his share right now!

  9. Hi,
    Oh my, you were very brave going into the room, especially seeing as how Willa and Lexi had their teeth bared. I agree the first thing that comes to mind is all the horror movies, and the many, many times I have told that person on the TV do not move. 😀

    Love the photo, and the hanging “monster” that had upset Willa and Lexi so much. 😆

  10. Oh, if only you had asked me this question when I was young. I was so sure then how the world should work and how everyone should act. The older I grow, the less I know I know, the more I stop and ponder–may be there is a different way. May be there is room for another view.

  11. Lots of things can get my hackles up.
    Those low frequency noises that indicate that a very strong wind is getting close.
    The howling if winds over 80 knts (particularly if I’m in a smallish boat).
    The tearing sound as a landslide destroys the building I’m in.
    The gasp then silence of someone looking at something behind me.
    The sound of an aircraft engine destroying itself (when I’m pilot and we have just taken off).
    The strong reaction of dogs or other animals to something I have not yet detected.
    Anything in human interaction that in manifestly unfair or unjust (which opens up infinitely recursive levels of systemic structures).

    Could spend a long time enumerating this list, but the above gives a general impression.
    I scare easy! And I don’t normally stay locked in terror for very long.

    • Ted – Goodness, gracious, sakes alive — everything you listed would scare the bajeebers out of me! And most of them I’ve never actively thought of, either. Let’s just see how well I sleep tonight 🙂

  12. So funny, Laurie! When we don’t know what something is, we can sometimes imagine the worst! And then when it’s a gentle leaf blowing in the wind…such relief. What gets my hackles up? People who are mean, or people who don’t try to understand, or people who don’t care. However, if my hackles go up, I am sometimes able to sit with this reaction long enough to feel the sadness underneath–both in me and the other person. Then, sometimes, compassion arises effortlessly.

  13. Its when you are fast asleep and dreaming and you dream that there is a knock on the door loud enough to wake you up! And then lie awake with heart pounding, wondering if it was a dream or a person, or a lost soul trying to give you a message. Your heart pounds faster, you start to sweat… is it a ghost? Is it a serial killer?

    Usually it is later than you think and its the postman with a package from Amazon

  14. What loyal protectors you have in Willa and Lexi!

    Let’s see, what first comes to mind as the thing that will get my hackles up is having to listen to a know-it-all tooting his or her own horn. I can only graciously handle so much of it before I start snarling…

  15. The imagination can conjure up mind images much more terrifying than what can physically be seen. Those who are familiar with Val Lewton’s 1940’s horror films know what I’m talking about here.

    Arrogance is the one trait that has always hackled me.

    Terrific post!

  16. Pingback: 8 Wellmans, In Darkness and Boy on Monday Morning Diary (March 5) « Wonders in the Dark

  17. Oh my gosh.. Hilarious. Pets are so entertaining, and the WAY you told the story was priceless.You had me convinced that a levitating hand was floating at your window :-). My hackles go up when I’m running in the desert and hear something ELSE running alongside me or behind me. Usually it’s javelina, but my arm hairs go up every time.

  18. too dang funny! Makes me remember a story from my youth. Me, Julie, Cindy and her sister Lisa had a Halloween party. We were in maybe 5th grade and decorated the basement like a haunted house. Now my sister Julie and Lisa were 2 years younger and we didn’t want them hanging out with us “cool” older kids so we went out on to the backporch.

    But Julie and Lisa got us back. They tried to scare us by hiding outside and sticking their arm up above the window. We all SCREAMED bloody murder when we saw a floating hand. hahahahahaha

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