Thomas Paine:

“Reason obeys itself; and ignorance submits to whatever is dictated to it.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dove Tale for Veteran's Day

      Yesterday, I spotted a dove resting in the middle of my garden. I nearly missed her, for she was perfectly still and camouflaged against the dry soil and grayed oak planter behind her. I thought, “What a smart dove you are to choose that spot to rest in—what predator would see you there, so quietly blending with your surroundings?” But why she was there at all, I couldn’t tell.
      It was such a rare event. Doves visit my place regularly, to eat from the feeder on the balcony, or to sit in the pine tree, but never do they stay ground-level for more than a minute or two. Cats are always present; coyotes, occasionally. The orange, polydactyl feral cat, my adoptee, was there yesterday too, napping on the patio bench, then later moving to her look-out tree to groom herself—without once noticing the dove.
      I kept an eye on her for two hours, while I read my book, until about 5:30 p.m. During that time, I worried over her, using my binoculars to get an up-close view. She hardly moved, except for blinking her perfect round eye and rotating her head this way and that; I could not see if she was wounded, or stunned, or just plain frozen with fear. I was tempted to approach her to get the answer, and rescue her if need be. But something held me back— “Let’s trust in nature’s wisdom and just wait and see...” I would go out, but only if a predator approached.
      Then, as day’s end and darkness approached, she began to relax, to test herself, moving to another position, extending her wings, flapping them briefly, tentatively; and that’s when, with a long stretch of her neck toward the near-by pine, she took off, up into the branches, where she disappeared.
      I don’t know exactly why this event made me as happy as it did. Most people wouldn’t be attached to a mere bird’s success, so very happy about a dove’s flight to safety, after a long, fearful wait. It’s one thing to be relieved and glad for the bird. But such dancing for joy...I don’t know.
      Perhaps the event reminded me of something. Perhaps it just felt right, coming after last week’s political revelations. After all, wasn’t it so true— spirit long suppressed; spirit finally released?

      Eighteen American veterans per day die by suicide. Let me not, in my happiness, forget them.


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