Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Dove love

Yesterday, the backyard was a nursery. First, three tailfeather-less starlings alighted on the railing, no more than ten feet away, looked at me as if I were a fixture, and proceeded to screech uproariously for Mom, who flitted nervously, branch to branch, above them.

Then, a similarly tailfeather-less young robin pumped up his speckled chest and jumped up the walk. He too--or she--like the starling-lings, seemed more afraid of flying than she was afraid of me. It was pre-school--and just as much as noise.
Then a pair of mourning doves decided to alight on the clothes-line pole, and because of the profusion of progeny, I simply assumed it was but another mother and child reunion.

There seemed to be some teaching going on--proper grooming, for instance.

But this was no chalkboard classroom; whatever etiquette was being passed along was done in person--like mother, like child.

And it wasn't a quick object lesson--it went on for several minutes, each of them observing, then almost losing themselves in the job at hand--or beak. On the basis of their persistence, one might have thought they were Dutch.

Inspection time,

And then

Wasn't pre-school at all. Imagine my shock when, right there on our clothesline pole, all that primping and preening climaxed, you might say, in a ritual dance I certainly hadn't anticipated, something one might call dove-making love-making.

Once the mission was accomplished, they spoke intimately to each other (a conversation to which I was not privy),

and then proceeded once more to some shy, post-coital cleanliness ritual.

Lest you think this all of this scandalous, be advised that mourning doves do, experts believe, mate for life. Trust me--there was nothing flighty about this relationship, nothing illicit, although it may have been a bit immodest of them to use so public a place as our clothes-line pole. A fairly steep Calvinist ethic still does rule in this town, of course. Generally, we don't make love on clothes-line poles, although there are always those who would say that some rules are made to be broken.

1 comment:

Cara DeHaan said...


Clothes-line poles, eh?!