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Straight No Chaser: We Can Learn Lessons From Nature

Op/Ed By Gloria Winston


gloria newDogs and cats I can talk to you about as pets. When I was a kid, my family owned goldfish, and parakeets too.

But, today, I am experiencing for the first time what birds in the wild do with no help from humans.

A few weeks ago my friend Tina Chapman DaCosta posted pictures of two doves who’d found a fascination with a window in her house, and were visiting her regularly.

I found her sharing and observations to be interesting, because it was always rumored in the circles I’ve traveled in that doves represent love, and are often depicted as symbols of peace.

In my mind, I’ve align their seemingly delicate natures with the ancestors who have to trust you spiritually to come forth and make a visit.

I’m just weird like that.

Anyway, about a week ago I noticed a couple of doves making regular visits to a flower pot I’d failed to bring inside in the fall. At first, I just assumed they were making a feast of some of the dried up flowers, and seeds that once lived and bloomed there last summer.

The visits soon turned into them taking turns sitting in the pot all day. It then occurred to me the doves may have been a couple, who‘d mated, and were planning to bring life into the world. It also occurred to me they may have been sitting on an egg.

I tried to ignore nature at work until it snowed one night.

The snow did not deter the determination of these doves to protect their egg.

I did manage to move the pot that was sitting on top of a folding table, away from the rail, so that the blowing snow did not cover those doves or the egg.

I got so concerned I asked my son to come build a tent around them.

I wanted to cover them in blankets, and even thought about placing a portable heater near them so they did not freeze. My imagination of them freezing to death had gone buck wild.

So, my son, Michael (an Arch Angel) calmed me down, and assured me they would be fine. He encouraged me gently to mind my business, and let nature (something that did not need my help) go to work.

Knowing my knowledge of the bird kingdom leaves much to be desired, and that what I do know is waning, my son then researched on the Internet to let me know the egg would be incubated for a period of about two weeks. And then, if all went well and the bird hatched properly, the baby bird would take another two weeks to leave the nest.

Woe is me. I had become worse than a Mother Hen, watching those two doves protect their creation with precision-like teamwork.

They would take turns. And, when it was time for a changing of the guard, they would coo, and send a message for relief in their own language; one that fascinated me as to why other doves in the area didn’t answer the call, and seemed to know exactly for whom the coo was meant.

I followed my son’s advice, for the most part, and did not interfere. However, I have to admit, before he deterred me, I had been on my way to the store to purchase bird seed, and to try to make them more comfortable.

I’m glad my son talked me out of my plan. He reminded me I might attract other birds to the bird seed, as well as squirrels, who seem to find bird food quicker than birds do at times.

During the time I spent bird-sitting from a distance, I could not help but think how much peace we would have as humans, if we learned to honor some of the lessons the doves demonstrated toward each other. Attributes like love, peace, trust, caring, discipline, and responsibility to family are just a few I found to be noteworthy.

Think about it. It appears that love, as opposed to lust, brought the two birds together in the first place.

There are many doves in the universe. And, I’d like to think it was the love the two birds found for each other which caused them to share a nest.

Peace also seemed to be a trait that existed between the two. I saw no conflict between them, or any other birds for that matter.

As far as trust, one of the doves obviously found the flower pot I abandoned for the winter, and I felt honored that they both seemingly trusted in the fact that no harm would come to them being in my presence.

And the rotations, and the changing of the guard, periodically, and without hesitation, showed the care both doves had for each other, and their egg.

Their discipline, while on watch, was also apparent, for when one bird called for the absent mate, not 15 minutes passed before relief arrived in the nest. The responsibility both doves shared was truly an attribute that humans could learn from.

Daddy did not abandon his mate. He did not run off to find another dove to mate with.

He stuck close to the nest, lending assurances that he would be there for the duration.

The father planned to see the hatching of the egg all the way through. He helped create the egg, and he did more than some human males seem capable of these days.

He would be there for his child from beginning to end.

Certainly, not all human males are irresponsible, but the ones who are, I attribute their behavior to the numbskulls that have not required them to be responsible fathers.

Yet, I want to be crystal clear, and not perceived to be bashing males.

We DO have GREAT and RESPONSIBLE men in our community, but the ones who aren’t need to take notes from the doves. IJS.

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