While out walking, I linger at a fence, looking closely at a vine dripping with lovely purple flowers that have yellow centers. I am lagging behind, as usual, so I jog around the corner to catch up with my husband and our dog. On the road to our left, a car goes by and we hear a soft thud. A million narrow feathers explode off the hood of that car, looking like silver fireworks. The driver speeds away and leaves a grey mourning dove twitching in the middle of the road.
My husband goes into the road, carefully picks up the bird, cradles it in his hand, and walks back onto the curb. I come up behind him and ask, “What are you doing?” He answers, “He is suffering.” He says, “I feel bad for him” and twists the bird’s neck until it is still. I stare and pull my head back in surprise. He gently places the dead bird on the dirt near some bushes.
I look at the road and it is filled with slender silver feathers. My husband points to the telephone wire above the street. I see a single mourning dove on the wire. She is very still and looking downward. My husband says, “That is probably his mate”. I squint to see her better and she, the mourning dove, who is known for her plaintive, grief-like call, just stares without sound. I feel a sad heaviness as I look back at the street. A breeze blows the broken silver feathers into a swirl and spreads them far and wide into the dirt.
The dove is a symbol of the spirit.
Her plaintive cry is for all of us who mourn
Our dead beloveds.
We suffer, even when the world shrugs
At silver feathers blown away by the unseen wind
That disappear forever into the dirt.
And like the dove on the wire
Our cry may be so loud that it is silent
As we try and find a way
To cradle our lost loves in our broken hearts forever.