Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Mourning Dove

It was bitter cold that day, the wind sharp and out of the North.

Though the sun was shining, it provided little warmth. For this was February in the dead of a long winter which seems to have no end.

As I walked through my office building, I stopped briefly to look out into the inner courtyard.

In summer it is a green place, with a large maple providing shade to a large portion of the yard.

The courtyard itself is surrounded on all four sides, it is something of an oasis when the weather is nice.

The weather that day was anything but nice.

It was just after our second big snowfall of the winter, the wind had blown the snow into tall drifts. More snow had been blown from the surrounding roof, perhaps doubling the amount of snow which would have been there without the wind.

As I looked out into this white sea of cold and sun, the glare off the snow was bright, almost too bright to see. It was then that I noticed movement in front of me, just by the window.

There, perched on a branch, was a mourning dove. His feathers were fluffed up to try and keep the cold out. He shifted back and forth on the branch, he seemed to be seeking something.

I watched him, he was no more than a foot away behind that window. I had never been this close to one of his kind. As I watched, I realized that the sun, reflecting off the window was no doubt providing him with a certain modicum of warmth.

He was probably shifting to try and warm as much of himself as he could.

There was no look of complaint there, just a wild thing trying to adjust to the bitterness of winter in the only way he knew how.

Find warmth. Find a spot out of the wind.

It appeared that he had, for the moment, found both.

Soon, no doubt, he would have to go find food. He could not stay in the one spot forever.

Life calls. Perhaps his Death was waiting for him in that frozen landscape. Perhaps not. But there is a hawk who lives nearby, this courtyard is a hunting ground for him.

But the dove will do what nature designed him to do. It's all he can do.

Sometimes that's all we humans can do as well.

Perhaps, like the dove, we might find a little warmth, a little shelter along the way.

A brief repose before heading out into Life once more.

For a few minutes, I felt a kinship with that cold and lonely looking bird.

I hope he makes it through the winter. To enjoy the spring once more.


  1. Poor little bird. He was probably shifting so his feet wouldn't freeze to the branch. Dam cooooold out there. I think you're coming out to San Diego to get the he'll out of dodge as much as it is for the meet up. Nice writing by the way.

    1. The thought of leaving the cold and snow behind for a few days was the clinching argument into whether or not to make it to the gathering this year.

      Thanks Tuna.

  2. A tender look at a most beautiful bird. Mourning doves are not the brightest of avian creatures but they sure are lovely. And so are your thoughts. Thanks to Joeh for pointing out your post.

  3. Gobbling crayons and belly button lint,
    Sealed away from reality,
    Homo insanus demands
    The Universe consecrate psychotic fantasy,
    Distorted shades cast by
    Nature's Magnificence.

  4. wonderfully written. congrats on your POTW!

  5. Beautifully written and congratulations on your POTW award from Hilary . . . :)

    1. Thanks Eddie. The POTW from Hilary is quite an honor!


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