The Nature of Doves
I stand for life in the face of death.
I stand for peace in the face of war.
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.