Barry the Barred Owl died last Friday after accidentally colliding with a Central Park Conservancy maintenance vehicle. This will probably mean very little to anyone outside New York City, but it definitely seems like a lot of people living in the area are super upset about the bird’s demise. “What amazes me the most is she welcomed us into her space... That moment when she looks into your eyes—that’s contact with your soul right there. She lets you know how she feels,” a birder told the New York Times in a retrospective essay published yesterday (Barry was determined to be female after the name caught on).
“You were my friend and you made me happy. Because of you, I stopped being scared to go out during the pandemic,” one child wrote in a note left at the recent 250-person strong Barry memorial near her favorite hemlock tree...
Jesus Christ. That is... that is goddamn heavy. Like, we just learned about this bird. Barry appeared to be a very cute owl, and it’s cool that she apparently was extremely tolerant of people getting pretty near to her and generating conversations between strangers and forming lifelong friendships and whatnot... but damn. “As quarantine time made our lives feel baggy and shapeless, without offices to go to or appointments to keep, Barry’s followers came to regard their visits to her as bright punctuation points in the grayed-out Möbius strip of their daily lives,” Michiko Kakutani writes in the same NYT essay.
Good Lord. Okay. We were most certainly not prepared for these levels of pure emotion about a simple, beautiful moment in time during this otherwise dark and ugly era. We were gearing up for a “Man, what’s the big deal? It’s an owl” angle but, uhh, yeah that’s definitely not happening now. We wish we cared about something during the past year-and-a-half as much as these New Yorkers cared about Barry the Barred Owl.
Okay, surely there’s something we can think of that elicit similar feelings. Let’s see...well, we’re pretty excited for Dune. So, um, there’s that.
Rest in Peace, Barry.
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