Monday, August 10, 2009

The Wail of the Mourning Dove

I'm ready to enjoy my morning coffee. Somewhere nearby, a Mourning Dove cries. A plaintive call, to protest the onset of another cloudy morning?

I lean back to rest my head against the wall. The cry continues. I am held rapt by the sound. It is neither here nor there, but beyond time and place. The sound is plaintive and nostalgic. Is it because similar calls are heard around the world, that they defy our sense of place and particularity?

I am not alone. The songbird is present, but everywhere. The call is timeless. Across continents, people hear the same songs. Evocations of the infinite...

This cry does not belong to our time alone. It belongs to All Time, to the Beginning of Time, to Creation.

I drift on its notes, and let my thoughts float beyond the tight walls of the space where I sit. Outside, the trees loom and portend the larger forests that extend in all directions. But my mind has now encircled and embraced the world, carried on the plaintive song of the Mourning Dove.

Mourning Dove image source: Wikipedia

All text copyright Lynda Lehmann. All rights reserved.

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  1. Kia ora Lynda,
    How lovely, how true, and how synchronistic. I have just been contemplating an amazing experience I had on my recent mountain trip with the Whio (Fee oh), a type of river duck native to New Zealand and adapted to remote pristine fast flowing mountain rivers over millions of years. To observe their interaction with the rivers is simply stunning. It is also endangered and to me represents the soul of the mountains, just as the loons represent the lakes of my original place. Those haunting remote songs invoke something within all of us.

  2. It's so easy to get lost on the notes a bird sings or on nature itself. To few people take the time to listen or step into nature these days. It's all about the rush to work and the things that one must do that day.

  3. beautiful bird Lynda...
    I have never seen one of these before and your words give such rich meaning....
    I'll have to see if I can find one on youtube :))

  4. Oh Lynda that must have been nice coffee time, lol. We have many mourning doves here, and I love their call. Excellent capture of the dove. Hope all is well otherwise. Anna :)

  5. Oh Lynda, You express this so deeply. Like other times I am speechless. It's as if you just said a powerful prayer and to disturb the following silence is jarring...even disrespectful.

    Your writing again expresses what is written on my soul, the deepest part of me.

    I used to listen to these doves in western Maine and I remember being at the cottage on the lake (7 yrs old) and one evening hearing this haunting sound. I asked my mother, "What is that sad sound? It scares me a little." She said, It's only a beautiful mourning dove. Nothing to fear." I looked at her as we both sat listening and I asked, "Why is she so sad?" Mom was still for few minutes, looking inward. Finally with tears in her eyes she said, "Because she feels all the suffering of the world, which she gathers up and then cries back into the Earth so the Earth can clean away our pain."

    I feel their song so deeply in my bones, so far back in my DNA. It's a very primal sound, one we all feel, one that connects us all. I really feel that these things are the soul of us. Earth is the soul of us.

    Thank you for such profound beauty.


  6. I can't believe I missed this post! I love the Mourning Dove. I have a few that greet me morning, noon, and night! I once was going to get a dove as a pet, because I love doves so much...but my husband asked me if I would rather have them free to fly, or locked in a small cage. So now, I have dove pictures and books all over my house instead. Thank you for this!

  7. Lynda,
    The mourning dove and the mockingbird have been "constant companions" as I grew up here in Southern California as a child... there's something comforting and as you say, universal, about these bird calls around us. As I grew up, I found their songs to center and relax me. Interestingly, when I would travel to Germany or Japan or China, I would IMMEDIATELY notice the different kinds of bird calls of the area. It added to the "foreign" aspect of where I was. But in a strange way, it also reinforced that the locals have their own "comfort songs" here too. Ironically, when we got to visit Beijing last year, one of the first things my wife and I noticed was there was NO birdsong anywhere in the city... it felt dead. We need our birds :-) Thank you for focusing on one of my long-time favorites. Let me pour you another cup of (home-roasted) coffee, while we enjoy watching them on the back yard bird feeder. :-)

  8. Drakonis - How fortunate you are to travel extensively!

    I'm glad you relate to the idea of birdsong being universal and at the same time, unique to specific places. And somehow, it's always nostalgic in a mysterious way, as if it's embedded in our ancient, collective conscience.

    Yes, please pour me a cup and I'll be right over!


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