Mourning Doves

It is impossible for me to see only the surface beauty of nature. There is always a deeper meaning to me in all that I see, every leaf, every petal, every raindrop. I am soulfully connected to nature, its healing powers, its lessons, and of course, its unsurpassed awe-striking beauty gifted by a divine being. I can’t imagine seeing it as less. I can’t unsee all of the messages in it.

I usually write of the light, only the happy things, focusing on the positive. Yesterday, though, is still weighing heavily on me, and I think for a reason. What I saw in nature all too strikingly paralleled the ongoing tragedy I have never been brave enough to lend my voice to.

Each season, a mated-for-life pair of loving doves nest within view from my windows. Last year, I got to witness the birth of two babies in my bedroom window bush.

I am always so nervous, don’t want any “circle of life” to bring harm to the eggs or the young ones; I even fear them falling out of the nest.

The female dove has such beautiful coloring, her light-blue rimmed eye peeking at me in peace, it seems, speaks to me so deeply; because I am a freak when it comes to nature and animals, I truly feel she knows I am an ally, a human friend of hers and her family. The father dove very rarely visits the nest, but he is always nearby, seemingly protecting his family; he seems loving, and when he brings something to his mate, it tugs at my heartstrings. I know I am a fool when it comes to sentimentality. But I become attached easily and my emotions are oceans to others’ puddles.

I watched the siblings grow up. I watched them learn to fly. I watched them fly enough away to evade the snake that slithered up the bush to check that nest. Too late.

That dove family stayed in my yard; the little ones grew up. I can’t be positive they are the same ones, but I am fairly certain the family is still here.

This season, the same thing. Only in one of my hanging flower baskets on the patio. She was quite hidden in there, but I recognized her eye. I tried to build trust with her so as to not cause her excessive stress, gently watering her live nest when I watered the other flowers so it would not die and expose her with less coverage. Yes, I even made a cooing sound like it was our secret thing. (I told you I was a freak with nature.)

Yesterday, it was very obvious that they hatched. Unless they hatched previously and they were just now getting rambunctious, but I think I would have noticed. She was up and about; dad came frequently now, even perching on the neighboring hanging flower pot. I could only see one hatchling; I stood on my living room window sills to try to see better. I decided they wouldn’t fall out because of the shape of the sturdy plant, bowl-like. When I went outdoors, I was amazed at how absolutely still the young ones would be with some kind of communication or instinct between mother and baby. I tried to stay indoors for the most part, or at least away from the nest. The family was such a delight to view from my sofa. Once, the young ones were alone and a non-dove came by; I went out and shooed it away.

Yesterday evening, as usual, I let my pup out so we could play together, with the heat of the day subsiding. He seemed to smell the doves, though he did not see them; I shooed him away from the area. He later sped by me and tried to scoop up something in the rocks. I chased him away again, this time indoors, so I could inspect what it was. It was covered in ants. I used a shovel to try to identify the object.

It was the second chick.

Not quite born, I don’t think, as it was still in the egg. My heart sank.

The sight seared me. Not because I am queasy about such things but because of the flood of emotions that hit me. The poor parents. The sibling-less baby. The horror of the wrongness, the irreverence of ants eating it, this precious babe. I saw a miscarriage. I saw human abortion. I saw a brand new life lost both ways. Right there in front of the mother. This one, a heart-wrenching loss to the parents, the sibling. But those ants…they were heartless. And I thought of all of the unborn children whose “mothers” chose to throw them away, discard them, feed them to the ants, pay for it. I mourned for the loss of every babe.

That day, with me, will always remain.

God, bless the unborn
who never got the chance
to further grow;
with You
may they be loved,
have a home.
Help me to lend my voice
to those who need
it most.

6 thoughts on “Mourning Doves

  1. Beautifully heartfelt requiem for the sadness that permeates nature as much as light and joy. I am reminded of St. Paul’s verse about nature “groaning for the coming of the Lord.” Nature too experiences the tragedy of loss, and she too endures the heartlessness of the natural process consuming what is dead and discarded. Nature wants peace as much as we do. Though we find peace in nature, it is important for us to remember now and then that nature too is seeking peace from her own travails. We are all waiting and hoping for the sadness finally to come to an end – not just a temporary reprieve of sadness, but the final end of death and loss. Abortion is analogous to the mother who deliberately sets apart the “runt” of the litter to die on its own. No doubt, there is a biological necessity behind this, but there is also a kind of heartless calculation in this decision. The innocent one left alone to die, or wrenched out from the womb, is the smallest and most fragile soul in all of creation. She is the meekest, and she calls out for compassion and love from whomever among us is willing to lend her a moment with our heart.

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