Bunny Whop (Aural Landscape)

Taos Valley Overlook scene

Sagebrush, piñon, juniper, gorge, at least eight or nine extinct volcanoes

T is a new one on me. I was walking along today right here on a perfect afternoon in the terrible high desert. There wasn’t any wind. It was very quiet. Just then I heard the weirdest whoppety-whoppety sound, loud and up close. It was a medium-sized cottontail rabbit! The animal was running at breakneck speed back and forth between the clumps of sagebrush to get away from me. Its feet made an audible impact on the dirt, whoppety-whoppety-whop. I’d never seen one move that fast. Usually they just freeze, which must be when the coyotes get them. I’d certainly never heard one whopping around in the sage.

When the wind does blow, it hisses in the piñons. (A second after my shutter went “click,” a mountain bluebird flew out of the close one in the photo.) Sometimes it sounds like people talking when you can’t quite make out what they say. If a raven flies by low enough, you hear the whoop-whoop whistle of each wing flap.

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