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Owls for Peace

Barred Owl photo © copyright by Michael Gold 2023 with permission


Owls for Peace



The Lenape Indians believed that if they dreamt of an Owl it would become their guardian.


-The Owl Pages



The owl was sitting quietly on the branch of a tree as my photographer friend, Michael Gold, was on his way to the gym very early one morning. It was still deep winter, and cold, but he got out of his car and took pictures with his phone. Later that day, when he posted the image of the owl on his Facebook page, I unexpectedly felt both wonder and joy, a respite from the focus of most of my writing life. I hadn't read the paper yet, or listened to any podcasts. I didn't need any reports about whole towns destroyed in Ukraine, Syria and Turkey to know that whole towns had been destroyed in Ukraine, Syria and Turkey.


In our daily lives, we may not be at war, but we are not always wise, and we are very often unkind.  So eager are we for the restitution of warm connection since three years of masking and insurrection, that when a young man on line at the local bakery tells his girlfriend he loves her, everyone turns and smiles.


Often, then, if we are attentive, patient, perhaps too imaginative, something surprising happens that eases our worry: Polar bears are surviving, or there is a cease fire in Ukraine, or the end to a trade war with China, or release of a migrant from detention, or the demonstrations in Iran and Israel against despotic regimes succeed in toppling those regimes. Or, it could be something micro-cosmic, immediate and real: the moment love begins, the mountain air freshened by wind, or an owl sitting peacefully in a tree.


Dedicated to my Palestinian cousins, still living under an increasingly violent occupation, and the brave Israelis demonstrating against their government.

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