A Fledgling Teaches Me How to Fly

The nest in a flowerpot on my front patio is empty and deserted. Instead, there is a fledgling dove sitting on one of my patio chairs. How fast each NOW we live speeds by! Ever expanding into something else entirely.
I left my “to do agenda” at my desk for much of today, and sat out on my patio, as well. I had some things I wanted to share with this fledgling.
So, we sat together for a long while…in chairs no more than three feet apart, and I told him everything.  (Yes, “him”–he told me so.) And he listened, more attentively than I’ve felt listened to in a very long time.
As I poured myself out and he listened, the most amazing thing happened. I felt my heart crack open. And he FELT it happen! Perhaps because it was rather like hearing his own egg crack open…but who cares why?
Among other things, I told him how grateful I was that he chose my patio to be born on, and that I knew he would soon fly away –which I was happy about!…but also sad, because I would miss him.
I’m sharing that with  you–it feels like something important for us all to take to heart NOW.
Copyright(c) 2013, Judith Dagley-All Rights Reserved
You may copy and redistribute this material so long as you do not alter it in any way, the content remains complete, and you include this copyright notice link.

An Awful and Glorious Thing

5.20.13  An Awful and Glorious Thing

Yesterday morning, I was out on my front patio in the sunshine, planting seeds and flowers.  Of  course, the first phase of my project required that I make space for all of these new little lives by clearing out what was no longer alive. And so I did, being very careful not to disturb any plants that were still living, no matter how long and spindly their stems had become. I was amazed at how much joy this simple act was giving me–this  welcoming of new life to grow around me!  That is, until the awful happened.

There is a pot that I’d  hung years ago from a tree branch that graciously extends itself over my front patio. I fill it with flowers. Every spring, I prune them (oh so gently!), and add some new ones to the mix. This spring, however, when I glanced up at the pot while raking fallen leaves, I was surprised to see that there didn’t appear to be any life left in it at all! From my glance, all I saw was quite a large accumulation of old, dead leaves, dropped from the gracious tree that holds it. So, I decided to lift the the pot off the tree’s limb in order to fill it with NEW soil for NEW life… and as I did, a tremendous flutter of alarm reverberated through me like shock waves.  Had I not managed to grab onto the arm of a patio chair (bruising  knuckles  in a scrape against concrete as I flailed for it), they would have knocked me to the ground.

The sound of the flutter came from the wings of a female dove, flying out of the pot. The feel of the flutter was her frantic fear for survival–and not only for herself. As I looked about me while getting my own bearings, I saw a broken egg on the ground of the concrete floor of my patio, with its contents spilled out. Amongst the yellow was the tail of an embryo–one of her unborn children, suddenly aborted, as if by a monster from out of the blue. And that monster was me.

I cannot tell you how hard this hit me. You see, for several years, doves have brought their fledglings to my patio, as a safe place to kearn to fly. Often, I have sat out there with both fledgling and mother during the process. They have come to trust me, so much so that they even try, sometimes, to come into my house! When I open the windows on any floors of my home that face that patio, they often bang against the screens in their trying, which concerns me so for their safety tbat I usually don’t open those particular windows at all.

Yet, never did it occur to me that one of them (or maybe two, as mother doves sometimes share one nest), would actually bear children in one of my flowerpots! I go out on my patio all the time, and often with friends (except when I know a fledgling is there, of course)–whoosh goes the sliding door!–and out we tumble with our loud voices and sometimes boisterous laughter. But the doves know that. We know one anothers’ routines quite well by now, the doves and I, so it seemed too “counter-instinctive” to me  that any would ever feel safe building a nest in such a humanly frequented area. Obviously, I was wrong.  At least one mother dove did feel safe enough with me to do so. And that made my careless betrayal of her trust all the more heinous.

Needless to say, I did not have a good afternoon. I was in a conbination of horror, shock, and grief. I was on trial for murder before a prosocut0r, judge, and jury that were appalled by my crime, and all of them were me. Finally, I managed to call my son, a fellow animal lover…and my own child. Lest I bury my crime within me as a shameful, unforgivable, secret forever, I forced myself to sob out my confession of this unspeakably awful thing I had done.

He gave me the counsel I needed, and that only someone who knows my heart with his own could give me. First of all, he was spectacularly unmoved by “the drama of it all,” which was beautiful. From a completely neutral perspective, he gave me the objective “facts” about the situation from every angle, which helped  me get a (much needed!) grip on them, myself. But he also knew that, for “the me that I am,” the emotional crisis was very real as well.

In addition to my own inner quagmire, my concern that the mother dove(s) would abandon the remaining eggs was great, and we talked about how to encourage her/them with birdseed, where to put it, etc., etc. So, I went downstairs with my bag of birdseed, crept outside to sprinkle some on the patio ledge, then eased my way back inside. Once in, even though it was twilight and hard to see, I peered out through the glass door for some reason, at what I now knew to be a nest. And that was the glorious part.

There, sitting in the flower pot, I saw the exquisitely delicate outline of a white dove. Her slender neck and long, pointed beak so finely etched that it made my heart ache. Her eyes so round and deep as she gazed back at me that it brought tears to my own. She was back! Back to warm her children into life. Back to put her trust in me again, in spite of what I had done. Back because it was the only choice she could make and still be who she is. And…because she came back to my patio with nothing but love and trust to guide her there, I felt forgiven, and forgivable….and so I came back, through her guidance, to myself, with love and trust, as well.


Copyright(c) Judith Dagley-All Rights Reserved.

%d bloggers like this: