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From Fenway Park to Barred Owls in the Night

Yesterday afternoon I changed up the routine and watched the Boston Red Sox play the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. Day games are a different vibe than night games, and all games are a different vibe during a pandemic. But we’re slowly coming out of it, and going to a baseball game on a beautiful day felt pretty cool.

It’s been decades since I’d seen that many empty seats at Fenway Park. Social distancing requirements demand low capacity, and we were among the lucky few to get in to see the game. Honestly the game was a mess of bad pitching and horrific defense for both teams, with 21 total runs scored. But being back inside the park after a couple of years, and especially the last year, made it special.

The entire experience, like everything else nowadays, occurs with appropriate precautions. They zip tie the seats you’re not supposed to sit in, and have some ushers walking around asking you to put your mask on if you aren’t eating or drinking. I saw plenty of people breaking this rule, but people are spaced so far apart that it didn’t matter much. The group I was part of is fully vaccinated and more comfortable than we might have been otherwise. No food vendors walking up and down the stairs pitching hot dogs and popcorn, and there were limited options below. But we were still at Fenway Park and loving the afternoon vibe.

Back at home in New Hampshire and ready to call it an early night, I heard the calls of Barred Owls in the woods behind the house. Loud. Close. And what sounded like three or four owls. We don’t generally have Barred Owls in the neighborhood, mostly because we have Great Horned Owls and they stay clear of each other. But here they were, and the night was filled with the apocalyptic sounds of Barred Owls in the night.

You can’t just slip away to dreamland when there’s a cacophony of owl calls outside. So I walked outside on the deck and stood listening to them in the dark. High up in the tree canopy, making baby Barred Owls or at least deep in negotiation. I thought about the contrast between Fenway Park and the woods of New Hampshire on this beautiful day in May. I’m not sure what this “new normal” will be, but if this was it, I felt lucky to have been a part of it.

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