Once more, my now bewildered Dove Bestirs her puzzled wings. Once more, her mistress, on the deep Her troubled question flings — ~ Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #65)
Six days after the last mourning dove photo shoot I came downstairs to find that my dove had brought her fledgling here for a visit. The walk we were about to take was postponed for a few minutes so I could take some baby pictures.
And there my little doves did sit, With feathers softly brown, And glittering eyes that showed their right To general Nature’s deep delight. ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Selected Poems)
I couldn’t get the camera to focus well on mama and her little one in the same frame, but I wanted this picture below for size comparison. All the other pictures are of the fledgling.
The blur is mama taking off, ending the delightful visit. Baby soon followed her and we were off for our walk which will be the subject of the next post.
Mourning doves have been visiting me off and on since my mother died twenty-eight years ago. They seem to arrive when I could use a little encouragement. When I used to garden one would often sit near me and watch me as I worked. Once one walked with me all the way from my garden to the swimming pool in our complex. Lately one comes to sit on the balcony almost daily and coos for as long as an hour at a time. I find her company very comforting.
Sunday morning I decided to try to photograph her through the sliding glass doors and was thrilled with the results. She didn’t seem to mind posing. I know they are plain birds, but that’s exactly why I find them so beautiful! I love them the same way I love my gulls.
In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. ~ Abraham Lincoln (Letter to Fanny McCullough, December 23, 1862)
When I first read the Lincoln quote six years ago, after my father died, I remember thinking how true it was. When my mother died I was so young it came as a terrible blow and I needed therapy to work through the grief. By the time my father died it was no longer such a shocking experience. I deeply felt the pain of loss, but it wasn’t unexpected.
We now have 36 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town. There are moments I feel terribly anxious about this. It’s starting to sink in that it may be be many months or even more than a year before it will be safe to visit our grandchildren again. As it stands now, I don’t think I will feel free from danger before there is a vaccine. But we are trying to make the best of it and even find a sense of humor at times.
I find myself wondering how my parents would respond to the coronavirus pandemic. I imagine they would probably be just as blindsided as the rest of humanity. But since Mother Nature sees fit to send me such a sweet comforter as this lovely mourning dove I will stay grateful.
It’s not true that life is one damn thing after another — it’s one damn thing over and over. ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay (Letter to Arthur Davison Ficke, October 24, 1930)
The Millay quote has been one of my favorites for a long time. It amuses me and helps me to laugh at the ironic situations I think I find myself in. The coronavirus pandemic feels unprecedented, and perhaps it is in my lifetime, but not at all in the history of the world.
In the trilogy Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset, the protagonist, Kristin, dies from the Black Death at the end. It’s one thing to read about plague statistics in history books, quite another to experience what it must have been like while reading the words of an excellent storyteller. It comforts me to know others have felt the same fear.
Being a highly sensitive child, whenever I would lament about the sad things happening in the world my father would sigh and advise me, “‘Twas ever thus.” When my mother was dying of cancer and my heart ached for her suffering he would gently remind me that “every creature struggles for life.” He was a naturalist and scientist who taught us compassion for animals and people, but also prepared us for loss. Whenever one of our pets died he would tell us to “remember the good times.” I am so grateful for the lessons he taught me.
‘Twas ever thus — from childhood’s hour I’ve seen my fondest hopes decay, I never loved a tree or flower but ’twas the first to fade away. ~ Charles Dickens (The Old Curiosity Shop)
Maybe that is the purest and most radical kind of religion – simple attention. Present-moment awareness. Instead of a belief system, awareness sees through all beliefs.
~ Joan Tollifson
(Painting the Sidewalk with Water)
Come, ye cold winds! at January’s call, On whistling wings; and with white flakes bestrew The earth.
~ John Ruskin
(The Poems of John Ruskin, Volume 1)
Blizzard Colbie gave us 22 24 inches of snow. I have been waiting for some decent snow this winter and it finally arrived. Zoë and I had a delightful afternoon watching the birds feeding in the snow on our balcony.
Tim sets up a webcam when it snows up here, so our kids in Georgia and North Carolina can watch the storm as it progresses. Nate, who has loved the color red since he was a baby, pinged me to let me know I had a cardinal out there. I already knew that, but it warmed my heart to know that he is still partial to all things red.
They still have not come to plow the parking lot of our complex and I’m wondering what the hold up is. Tim returned from doing some volunteer work at the Red Cross shelter and got stuck in the entrance to the driveway. Fortunately our very kind neighbors dug him out and created a parking space for him, too. All the neighbors’ cars are still buried.
Edit – the morning after – the final snow total for Groton was 24 inches! The town of Thompson got 33.5 inches!
After years of trying I was finally able to capture some good pictures of a mourning dove! She seemed to be posing for me on a tree in Janet’s yard and I was thrilled.
Janet and I had a great time celebrating the summer solstice on Saturday. We went strawberry picking in the morning, then made a lunch out of grilled eggplant with goat cheese and other veggies, devoured it outside on her sundeck and finished with our fresh strawberries and whipped cream.
We took a long afternoon walk in the woods and meadows at Machimoodus State Park. The day was breezy and warm – we could not have ordered more perfect weather! Back at Janet’s we had grilled wild turkey and veggies, enjoying supper outside as well.
Then, as dusk finally fell on the longest day of the year, we shared a campfire and watched the stars come out and the fireflies twinkle in the trees and eventually the embers dying down. We even heard a pack of coyotes howling in the distance. It was wonderful to have spent the entire day outdoors with the companionship of a good friend.
The holiest of all holidays are those Kept by ourselves in silence and apart; The secret anniversaries of the heart.
~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Many thanks to Tracy at Seasons Flow, for permission to use the above photograph, found on the Late Nesters post of October 1, 2001. When I first saw this touching picture of a mother mourning dove and her squab it warmed my heart and filled me with joy. Today I have a perfect opportunity to use it – in memory of my mother, who would have been eighty years old today. I miss her still.
The vegan adventure continues, although it’s been challenging not being able to chop vegetables or lift heavy pots and pans while my hand is on the mend. And it turns out that I also cracked a rib when I fell two weeks ago… (Finally decided to check things out with a doctor.) Six more weeks expected for everything to heal…
We had an encouraging surprise from Tim’s brother, the one who just had a heart attack in September. After doing some of his own research he’s also decided to become a vegetarian, so we may get a meat-free Thanksgiving after all!
And this weekend we found a local Asian cuisine restaurant. Tim had the Vegetable Delight with steamed tofu, and he ate it, all of it. I wasn’t sure I could believe my eyes!
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me. I am a free human being with an independent will.
~ Charlotte Brontë
The above picture I found on the web… Had to use something to illustrate what I saw this morning!! There are a couple of mourning doves in our neighborhood who love my garden. (Or perhaps even me?) They are so curious and they will often look for seeds, coming very close to me, studying me while I’m weeding. When other folks are about they zip up to the power lines, their wings whistling, and then sit and watch to see what develops in the human world.
This morning when I opened the door and stepped outside there were four birds in the garden. As I was trying to figure out what the two smaller birds were I slowly realized that they must be baby mourning doves! And then the whole family took off together!
Wikipedia says that the squabs “stay nearby to be fed by their father for up to two weeks after fledging.” So, if I’m calculating correctly, they could be about three or four weeks old! We’ve been living here for 17 years and this is the first time I’ve noticed the little ones.