The Nature of Doves

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I stand for life in the face of death.

I stand for peace in the face of war.

Pablo Picasso

I love the doves we hear and see in our yard when the weather is nice enough to have the windows open. Their gentle cooing speaks to cool spring mornings, when a slight breeze blows across my face – the smell foretelling of rain. Their presence is familiar and comforting. Those mornings seem far off now. There is snow, covered in frozen rain, that is crunchy and the days are cold and blustery. I cannot yet hear the doves calling to one another.

I saw the stories from Boston and felt bone-weary. We’ve been here before – the random unfocused fear, the tip of the iceberg of grief – we touch it with our minds briefly and pull back in discomfort. To feel so much at a distance only gives a hint of what people at its vortex must be suffering. We retreat into our own fears, our daily lives that pull us along, past bomb wreckage and bullet casings. We turn off the TV and turn our attention to the minutiae, momentary distractions from a trip to the mall that might go wrong, a family event destroyed, a bus ride disrupted. Wrong place. Wrong time.

Our intellectual selves run through all the editorials, the spins, the need for comprehension and we come up empty-handed. All these years and we know little and understand even less. We forget and push aside the randomness of our existence. We don’t think about the anger and discontent that swirls around us. We can’t. We’re not experts. Or superheroes. Or even all that observant at times. Some turn inward to prayer or meditation. Some coil up with fear or spring forward in rage. It’s all just the pointless flapping of wings. Until we wear ourselves out and settle down.

I don’t think I’ll flap my wings. Maybe I will skip all of that and start from a place of calm. Knowing my limitations, maybe I’ll donate to the Red Cross in Boston. Maybe I’ll hold my own 8 year old a few moments longer tonight, letting the soft skin of her cheek brush against the middle-aged, winter dried of my own. Maybe I’ll drift off into a dreamless sleep, knowing that each moment is borrowed time. And tomorrow, the comfortable, familiar presence of friends and family will remind me of the curious willingness to embrace renewal and life – no matter how many times predators strike.

15 Comments on “The Nature of Doves

  1. You know, I came home today and turned the news off and went out to watch the mourning doves – something simple, and comforting, and far away from the chaos. I’m just numb from the senselessness of it all. The cooing of the doves is soothing.

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    • Sometimes that is really all we can do. We hope the experts can discover cause, catch the murderers, prevent more tragedies, but there is no bigger picture for most of us. There is only this constant recognition that hate breeds among us and that all we can do is counter it by continuing to live and not turn to hatred or give into fear ourselves. I hope spring and the birds come here soon.

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  2. Beautifully written. In these moments, our country finds strength – individually, within our families, and for our community. Thanks for this important reminder 🙂

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  3. I am moved at how the news of the recent bombing in Boston is written in such poignant words. We may be worlds apart, but we all have to ” stand for peace in the face of war and stand for life in the face of death.”

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    • I love that quote because so often when horrible things happen, we have knee jerk reactions that look an awful lot like unmitigated anger. It’s when things are bad that we define who we are and what we represent.

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  4. I’ve been checking out a few of your posts this morning (morning here in BC, Canada). As I read this one I thought of that quote – be the peace you want to see in the world. And random acts of kindness and things like that. Do hug your eight-year-old. Maybe that’s all that will ever make a difference. I also read your post on bot likes and views – fascinating. I’ve often wondered about how screwy the WordPress stats seem. Then I read your about page and loved all your ex’s and the green study where broken toys go to die. OK – I admit it. I like your blog! And on another crazy random note – yesterday I heard Prince sing that song about doves – alone in a world so cold – this is what it feels like when doves cry. I’m glad your doves aren’t crying. Enough.

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    • I sincerely believe that most of us can only effect change on a small scale, but that those changes have a ripple effect. I have to believe that or else everything seems hopeless.
      As a writer, I felt slightly ashamed getting hung up on the stats, but I was also feeling rather irritable trying to keep up with things.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and follow. I plan on reading more of your posts, but when I saw your retreat on the lake, I was sold! That’s my dream of a writer’s retreat! Throw in a few gardening analogies and my follow was a done deal.

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