Thursday, December 6, 2007

One Way of Looking at a Mourning Dove or I've read Wallace Stevens and You're No Wallace Stevens

So, here we were walking the dog. It was 1 AM. It had snowed during the day and the trees and bushes were beautifully white, the road icy, the air cold and moist and lovely. In suburban Northern Virginia this is a big deal. We were all sick with our coughs, hacking and spewing as we went, the four of us - Me in boots and long coat and hat and one pink mitten (I held up my hand in evidence. Jerzy, look, it’s so sad that I lost one of the mittens you made me buy. That was a year ago Ma, eyes rolling. I know, but it’s still sad.). Kristara in her pajamas wrapped up in “blanks”, her childhood sleeping bag. She’s 21 now but blanks has loyally stayed by her side through some pretty rough times over the years. Jerzy in a t-shirt and very cool hoodie, not even close to warm enough for this weather. She refuses to wear a coat in the winter just like when she was six, but at almost 16, I suspect it’s for different reasons. Duckie, our dog, as always, was Just Duckie.

All of a sudden a strange commotion - A bird, a Mourning Dove, was at our feet, desperately trying to fly, it’s wet and frozen wings useless, flapping and hopping, making pitiful progress. After several fits and starts, Jerzy captured it. Off came her hoodie (Now she’s down to a thin, short-sleeved t-shirt.) and Dove was wrapped up inside. It’s no surprise that Jerzy would grab the bird. She’s always finding creatures on the side of the road, baby birds prematurely fallen from nests, squirrels that have suffered some unknown misfortune. One day she took a mouse that my cat Mishra was about to eat away from him and nursed it back to life. She has her own account, a veritable rap sheet, at the local animal shelter for bringing in all matter of near-death animals.

So the bird sat still in Jerzy’s arms wrapped up in her hoodie, its one visible little eye blinking every so often. A half hour later she unwrapped her hoodie and gently checked its wings for damage. It sat on her finger. Just sat there. I have a Mourning Dove sitting on my finger! Of course you have a Mourning Dove sitting on your finger in the freezing cold at 1:30 AM. You’re Jerzy. Then it flew away.


Kavan said...

I'd like to hear more reminiscences about your chickens. There's a fascist movement in my hometown to ban chickens from being raised in the city limits. Some friends of mine produced a hard-hitting documentary on the raging debate:

Always enjoy your comments -- great to see you've launched a blog.

beth said...

What a perfect Jerzy story! I truly believe she somehow magnetically attracts sick and wounded animals as I've never known anyone to encounter anywhere close to as many as she does. It's really uncanny. Just one more reason she is quite a special kid/woman indeed!