Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dove love

Yesterday I noticed a dove walking around my patio, right by our sliding door.  Normally, it would just fly away, but obviously it's injured, probably a broken wing that's sticking out,  and it just kills me knowing I can't do anything for it.  I even did an internet search for a rescue group or advice, and basically I have to just let it be.  It's not an endangered animal.  It's nature.  Maybe it was attacked by a cat or got tangled in a wire or was born with a bad wing - I will never know.  It's still sad, though.

With the monumental man-made oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico right now, I purposely avoid looking at the heartbreaking pictures of the affected wildlife.  It's just waaaaay too much to stomach.  And then this placid mourning dove sits there on my patio and it's impossible to ignore.

It reminds me the time a few years ago when an opossum felt compelled to curl up in our planter bed and live out it's last day right in front of our eyes.  Of all the places, it chose a spot right in front of our door.  I knew something was wrong for it to be out during the daytime and just look up at me without flinching when I took it's picture. It didn't look injured, more like wanting to rest in peace.
I'm not going to fly to the Gulf Coast to help clean up oil soaked birds and wildlife.  There was nothing to do for the opossum but let it be.  I can fix a lot of things around the house (and with two kids a lot gets broken!), but I cannot mend the dove's broken wing.  However, I can be sad for it and feel empathy.  I can bury the opossum, and the dove if it comes to that, and give them back to the earth.  I can admire their beauty and appreciate their life.  I can be humbled that wildlife is all around us in the big busy concrete city, whether we ever see it or not, and that we share this little plot of earth together.  I can plant lots of bird-friendly flowing plants (I am a big hummingbird fan) with no chemicals to help them thrive and help feed their offspring.  Hey, I can do lots of good things after all!
This morning, I didn't see the dove (I can only hope it flew away), but in neat synchronicity, we met up as planned with some friends at a local nature center for a walk and live animal presentation.  This is our much loved little gem just outside of the city - an easy escape into nature and wildlife.  Here, they feature animals, birds, and reptiles that would otherwise not survive in nature.  They are all rescued and are well taken care of and in turn, used to teach the public about their awesomeness. I always learn something new, and the kids have a blast.  It's not every day you get up close to a magnificent Great Horned Owl.

It felt comforting to see such good being done on a bigger scale that I'm not able to do myself in my own little backyard.  These amazing creatures get a second chance thanks to loving caretakers and generous supporters.  Seeing all that good was a beautiful thing...and I feel much better now. 

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