I'd hear that sound, the soft beating of wings as a bird ascended or descended, as I was stirring in my pre-dawn semi-wakefulness. But I did not realize exactly what I was hearing until a week or so ago. I'd dumped out a huge pile of clothes on the bed for folding, one of those tasks that part-time pastors do on a Thursday in the middle of the day.
As I sorted them, I looked out the window. There, on the ledge, two mourning doves. They nestled with each other, and it was clear: they'd found a place for their nest this spring.
Our windowsill, like the entire southeastern wall of our home, is completely covered in English Ivy. I know, it's an invasive plant that can muck with the brick surface of our home, but it also means an entire side of our home photosynthesizes. A little extra oxygen is a good thing.
Plus, it's a lovely habitat for birds, and it adds to the hobbitish quality I so value in a residence.
I've watched as they've built their nest, twig by twig. I can press my face to the window, my face no further than the length of my index finger from the deep dark pebble of the doves eye, set into the gentle sky grey of her plumage. She watches me, but remains still. No flinching or nervousness. Just still and calm, with my huge mottled pinkish primate face just inches away.
It's striking, her stillness, but I suppose doves must be good at being still, if they are to get by as a peaceful, graceful creature in a world red in tooth and claw.
I like having them so close, these mated doves nestling together at night, so close to my wife and I as we sleep.
And I like that the place we call home is a safe place for gentle creatures.
It's something worth striving for in all the places we spend our time, I think.