A few weeks back I posted about a dove that had built a nest on an unused planter on our front porch. I’d read that mourning doves choosing your house was a sign of peace and tranquility. Each morning I went out for a jog, the dove’s little head would pop up and she would eyeball me. There was no fear in that gaze, but rather serenity. She was sitting on her eggs and knew I wouldn’t hurt her. Several days ago she was gone from the nest. We were out for a family walk when my daughter noticed. We crept up to see two good-sized chicks sitting there instead. Within days we had a couple of young birds flapping around the yard, trying to learn how to live on their own.
I missed the dove, though. The nest was empty. I felt less bad about stepping into somebody else’s bedroom every time I went out the door, but still, I’d grown accustomed to having her—them—on the porch. This week when I again went out for a jog (the jogging never ends), she was back. She looked at me with a knowing stare. Ours was apparently a safe house. Mourning doves, I read on the Cornell University ornithology site, can raise a brood of two in six to eight weeks. From the laying of eggs to abandoning the nest is only a two-month proposition. The website then went on to say that doves will sometimes return to their previous nest. This one obviously had.
Peace is a rare commodity these days. Stress seems to be our daily matrix. How long will our jobs hold out? Will opening up the economy lead to a second wave? (Likely yes.) Will we be able to make mortgage payments if our companies can’t weather the storm? Who really owns this house anyway? There is a serenity to relinquishing anxieties of ownership. A kind of freedom to belonging to a world that will, at least in some nations, help you make it through a crisis intact. There’s a wisdom to the animal world that we too often ignore. We can find peace if we look for it. One cold morning I found one of the chicks sheltering on the leeward side of our fence. I took her some sunflower seeds since she looked so miserable. I don’t know if she ate them or not, but I knew that we humans had benefited from having her under our roof. Such gifts are worth more than might be imagined.