Without Barry the Central Park Owl, What Will We Do?
“She became our friend at a time when we couldn’t easily see friends,” said Meredith Pahoulis, Creative Director and Photographer. “It was a gift, she came at the right time. From freezing winter nights to hot summer nights, she was always there and I always knew where I could see her.
Molly Eustis, a director who found herself unemployed when theaters closed, affectionately described the owl as a small, round “potato” perched in a tree with a “cinnamon rolled face” incredibly cute. Seeing her for the first time in December was a magical moment: “That lonely owl in the middle of town in Central Park, in the snow, at the solstice, when I felt like a lonely human being after almost a year of living. pandemic, without work, and not being able to travel to see my family on vacation for the first time in my life.
For me, Barry’s sudden death reminded me of that sense of loss I felt when I was a kid, reading all those sad animal books like “Charlotte’s Web”, “The Red Pony” and “Old Yeller ”, and which many children today experience when reading. on the sudden death of Hedwig in the latest Harry Potter novel. While such books highlight the ruthless cycle of life, Barrett observes that Barry’s death also reminds us that many “birds have short lives.” It is estimated that “50 to 70 percent die in their first year. And even after that, bird mortality is high. But we don’t usually see them die, ”he said. On the contrary, they “die in the dark”.
Jenifer P. Borum, a writer and teacher who had been ill with Covid, said Barry’s following through Central Park had helped her regain her strength. “Barry’s act of flying through our lives brought out the best in us,” she said. “We bonded with her. Our group included people who might not have socialized otherwise. The night of the vigil, I had the impression that it “was starting to disperse and it made me sad”.
But the next owl, she hopes, will also bring the group and future owl-watchers together.
“We’ll look for it in the eyes of the next owl.” Although no owl ever compares.
Michiko Kakutani is the author of the book “Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Re-Read”. Follow her on Twitter: @michikokakutani and on Instagram: @michi_kakutani
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