Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Mystery of the Doves


The Doves once again built a nest in the old yew and once more, I saw them, half-concealed in the boughs of the tree, protecting their nest night and day.

One morning, a dead fledgling lay on the path beneath the yew. It was a young Dove. I did not think it newborn but perhaps one who tried his wings for the first time and, failing to remember the lesson, plummeted to his death. I could be mistaken. it is possible that newborn Doves are larger than I realised and resemble the adults more than I thought they would.

After that, the Doves sat on the nest no more. It breaks my heart a little whenever a young life is snuffed out but, like Tennyson once wrote:

'Are God and Nature then at strife,
That Nature lends such evil dreams?
So careful of the type she seems,
So careless of the single life;

That I, considering everywhere
Her secret meaning in her deeds,
And finding that of fifty seeds
She often brings but one to bear,

I falter where I firmly trod,
And falling with my weight of cares
Upon the great world's altar-stairs
That slope thro' darkness up to God,

I stretch lame hands of faith, and grope,
And gather dust and chaff, and call
To what I feel is Lord of all,
And faintly trust the larger hope.'

Even gathering dust and chaff, one must trust the 'larger hope'... and it is not only dust and chaff in any case. Each day there is cause for joy as well as pain. When I see one of the Cats chasing a toy, when not-so-little Cupid, my Kitten, licks my face in love, when I see a work of art that inspires me or read a passage in a book that is perfection itself... life is filled with small joys even when the pain and the losses are great.

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