Brendas' Garden-My Dove
by Brenda Looney

The sun came up peeking through the crack in the window shade signaling me to arise and begin the day in the garden.

Spring is a busy time for all God's creatures. I gathered up my seedlings I had so lovingly tended indoors and took them out into the bright spring morning. Struggling with the armload, I carefully set them down on my potting bench. Looking up on the upper shelf I spotted a dove sitting on a nest. We eyed each other cautiously .....her, I'm sure, wondering if I were friend or foe....and me, startled, but not wanting to disturb her. "Silly bird," I said to myself. "What a place to build a nest."


Determined not to give up my much needed space, I spoke to the dove. "Hey, you can stay here, but I need to work at this bench, so you're just going to have to live with it or move on."

She seemed equally determined to protect her space, settling in and not even blinking an eye.

Weeks went by and I continued my arduous tasks of setting out plants and tending to the garden. The dove and I had learned to coexist throughout the coming and goings past the potting bench. I had come to look for her and had even named her Mama.

Through all the Spring rains and blustering winds, she just sat there undaunted. Sometimes, with her head tucked down into the back of the house upon which the potting bench rested against. I was beginning to wonder if she was ever going to have her babies.

We formed an unnatural alliance, Mama and me, that humans and wild birds don't usually have. I held daily "discussions" with her talking of many things. Words spoken to her that I could never say to another human. Thoughts, and yes fears I'd been having about the dawning of the new millennium. I was sure, I thought, that she couldn't understand my words, but she would turn her head and peer at me with those beady little eyes with interest.

One evening just as light was drifting into darkness, I passed by the nest and Mama wasn't there. In the nest were two tiny doves. They were patiently waiting for Mama's return. Why, they already had their feathers. How could I have not known they had been hatched. Remarkably quiet, unlike the baby sparrows who peeped non-stop throughout the day. I smiled and felt excitedly proud for the newest arrivals to my garden. "Welcome little ones to my piece of heaven on earth." I kept the bird feeders filled and fresh water in the birdbaths every day wanting to do my part to nurture these little ones.

One morning, as I passed by the potting bench on my way to the garden, I noticed with growing concern, evidence of some disturbance. Little pots and seedlings were strewn about. Looking up into the nest I observed that mama and her babies were gone. Tiny feathers were flitting here and there in the breeze.

I cried out, "Oh no, oh no," and tears ran down my face and my heart began to pound. Frantically, I ran around the garden calling, "Mama,Mama," my panic increasing. Then I saw them, Mama looking somewhat injured, and her tiniest, little baby sitting on a rock. As I carefully approached, mama flew somewhat clumsily into a nearby tree. Quickly I grabbed up some garden trimmings and tried to put together a new nest up on the shelf of the potting bench. I then went back and scooped the tiny dove into my cupped hands, and carefully set the baby back into the nest. I backed away hoping Mama would return to her baby. No sooner had I left, mama flew to the nest. I gave them time to be alone, and to calm down after their terrifying experience. I felt sad for Mama's loss of one baby, but happy for the baby that had survived.

I pondered how to secure my feathered guests from the killer cat who would surely be back. I decided to surround the nest with boards driven throughout with hundreds of nails. I set about the task of implementing my plan. Once in place, I stood back and hoped it would work.

After the night had come, and before turning in, I decided to have one last look in on Mama. Stepping outside, and peering up at the nest, I was alarmed to see it was empty. I glanced all around the garden, spotting a big, gray cat. I screamed at him and he quickly climbed over the fence and ran off into the darkness. There was no sign of Mama or her baby.

Sadly, I returned to the house, and wistfully glanced up into the now empty nest. I felt I had let Mama down somehow. I was surprised at how strong my emotion was. Wiping away a tear, I turned out the light and went to sleep.

Morning came and I went through my daily routine of grabbing a cup of coffee, and heading outside to see what was new in the garden and enjoy the sunshine and song of the birds as they flitted in and out of the bird feeder having their breakfast.

While sitting on the garden bench, I reviewed in my mind the events of the previous night. I felt so sad and realized how much I really missed Mama. Unwittingly, I'd grown attached to our daily talks in the garden. Yes, we had become friends of sorts. I felt tears rolling down my cheeks, thinking of how terrified she must have been, watching the cat take away her precious little ones. Even though she had put up a valiant fight, as evidenced by the bloody cuts on her cheek, it was not to be. The enemy had conquered.


Suddenly, out of the sky, a dove flew down and perched itself on the top of the trellis next to me. I looked up and knew instantly that it was Mama. I was so happy she had survived the clutches of the cat. We eyed each other for the longest moment. I wondered if she was coming to me for help, as I had rescued her before. I spoke softly to her and told her how sorry I was for her loss. I poured my heart out to her and she sat and listened intently. It was a rare moment of unbelievable communication and connection. The fact we were completely different species seemed not to matter. We both felt grief of immense proportions.

Mama flew up to a nearby wire and perched herself there calling in the most mournful way that doves can do. The babies were gone, and with them, Mama's purpose. She was supposed to nurture them, and feed them, keep them warm and close to her, and teach them to fly. Now they were gone and her mournful wail, as she was perched all alone, seemed all the more tragic.


The garden looked more beautiful than ever that day. The flowers were popping out all over in a rainbow of colors.

The sun rose serenely on the lovely morn,
Dew glistened as diamonds on the foliage of green.
In the early sunlight, the dove's song painfully forlorn,
singing out of grief despite the wondrous scene.

Something good can come from something bad
and bring a smile despite our woes.
Something to comfort and make the heart glad,
For wherever a tear falls a flower grows.

Memories of an Abundant Life  * Family Ties  *  Flowers & Friends
Grandpas' Picture   *  In Rememberance   *  Letter to My Father
The Time of My Life   *  My Father   *   To My Husband
Sweetheart Overseas   *  My Dove   *   My Favorite Places
My Garden in Bloom   *  My Animal Children   *  No More
                               New Pages !!!
Christmas Gift  * Pumpkin  * Empty Nest  * Beyond Tears  * The Red Rose  * Annie's Story of Great Depression  *
Garden Pictures  * Coming Into Manhood  * I Love How You Love Me  *
Time To Give Thanks  * Autumn Memories  *  Sunset  *My First Mothers' Day  *
The Gift   *  Neighbors  *   Seasons of Life

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