We are all, I think, looking for hope. Probably due to the way I was raised, I often seek signs. There’s no way to know if said signs are mere coincidences or the more intense variety known as synchronicities, yet we have a hopeful sign here at home. On our front porch we have some plant hangers. Spring crept up on us this year and we haven’t got around to putting any pansies in them yet. The other day when I was stepping out to get the mail, I noticed feathers in one of them and feared there’d been a bird-related accident there. As I took a step toward the planter, the head of a mourning dove popped up. She blinked at me curiously, but didn’t fly away. I knew then that she had built a nest in the as-yet unused planter and she was sitting on her eggs.
Monday was fiercely windy around here. And rainy. I wondered how any birds could fly in such weather. A mourning dove flew up—perhaps one of the pair on our porch—and landed on the electric wire leading to our house. The wire was swaying and bucking so furiously that the dove constantly had to shift and fluff and flutter just to stay in place. The poor bird was in constant motion. Then it showed a sign of animal intelligence. There’s a much larger wire that runs down our street, from which other houses are supplied. It’s more stable in the wind due to its girth. The dove flew up to that wire instead. There it was able to perch without having to constantly adjust itself to the gusts. Peaceful and intelligent. That’s what the world needs. I have hope.
The dove has long been a sign of peace. It’s understood that way in the Bible. It was the dove that brought an olive twig to Noah, indicating that although all he could see was water there was, somewhere, dry land. These days we need to be reminded that although it seems that the storm will last forever, even hurricanes eventually exhaust themselves. The dove, clearly not happy about the horrendous wind buffeting it on that wire, nevertheless persisted in a kind of stoic optimism that things are as they should be. There is great wisdom in the natural world. If we can get to a window we can see it playing out before our very eyes. Now when I step out the door, I glance at the dove, and she looks back at me. We wink at each other. She doesn’t fly away, for she understands. She has a wisdom to which we all should aspire.