Thursday, May 15, 2008

Learning to Fly

There was a baby dove on our doorstep today.
He was tiny. He didn’t look hurt but he wasn’t moving- not even when I got up close to make sure his wings weren’t broken. He could have fit into the palm of my hand- but someone once told me not to touch baby birds because their mothers will abandon them as if they have been tainted by human contact. It may be a myth, but I wasn’t taking any chances.

My mom, my aunt, my uncle, and I all took turns peeking out the door to see if he had found his mother, or if his mother had found him. Because we couldn’t move him, we were also checking to make sure that none of the local cats had a decadent baby dove feast for dinner. It was my fear that I would open the door and instead of seeing the wide-eyed, scared little bird (which was sad enough in itself), I would see a bloodied pathetic pile of feathers. It broke my heart to see him sitting there, lost and abandoned.
And then- my sister- the eternal optimist, came home from work and construed a story to ease the collective dismay that had descended upon our household.

According to Tyler, the mother dove was teaching her children to fly, launching them from their nest in the nearby tree. Our baby dove had a bit of a false start that resulted in a crash landing onto the front porch. Therefore, the baby dove was somewhat fearful of taking flight again. Later, we witnessed the mother fly down to the porch to have a chat with her baby. Yet every time she saw us watching (such voyeurs!), she would abruptly fly away again. We consequently renounced our spectating ways and all went back inside. When curiosity got the best of our brigade, we sent Uncle Art outside to let us know the status of the lost dove and we were happy to hear that he was gone- with no traces of cat-attack.

I’d like to think, as Tyler recounted, that the mother dove utilized her parenting skills aptly. She didn’t pick up baby dove and bring him back- because upon his next attempt, he most likely would have crashed again. What she did do, was fly down to him, let him know that she was there- that she was watching- that she believed in him. And ultimately, she gave him the courage and fortitude to get up and fly again.
At least I hope that she did this for her baby, because that is exactly how my mother raised me.

I once heard a quote (by Harding Carver) that I find quite appropriate (and useful at times when trying to describe how extraordinary my mother is) that states, “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children. One is roots. The other is wings.”
How true it is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you. I am writing this thru my tears. It is not only a beautiful story it is a truly lovely tribute. Thank you.