A Barred Owl

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by Laura Parker Roerden

Several nights this week I have lain in bed
listening to the call and response of three barred owls
outlining each cardinal direction—save for the south—

which is oddly missing in the chorus, as if the baritones
had boarded a bus for Times Square for some dancing
and Christmas lights, while a deadly serious conversation

was happening between the sopranos, altos and tenors.
I do not know why they are calling with such urgency,
but something about it feels like a warning or lit with longing;

there is a sense that something of great value is slipping
away. Yet each evening, as the thick coat of darkness is applied
to the wide open sky, erasing shades of apricot and purple,

I too often rise in dream or prayer,

trying to unwind

the tangled mess

that is living
and seeking

safer shores.

Laura Parker Roerden is the founding director of Ocean Matters and the former managing editor of Educators for Social Responsibility and New Designs for Youth Development. She serves on the board of Earth, Ltd. and is a member of the Pleiades Network of Women in Sustainability. She lives on her fifth generation family farm in MA.


Published by Laura Parker Roerden

Laura Parker Roerden shares a love of what nature can teach us. Writer, public speaker and supportor of youth to boldly know and save the wilds. She is the founding director of Ocean Matters and a fourth generation farmer and thinks today’s young people are reason to be hopeful about the many environmental problems facing us. She lives on a family farm in Massachusetts with her husband, three boys, and an assortment of fruit trees and farm animals.

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