Two weeks ago, a ring-necked dove flew into my window and died. The imprint of it’s wings and body are still on the glass, along with a couple of feathers. I moved it under the tree. Over the weeks I have observed another ring-necked dove right beside it, sometimes just sitting, sometimes flapping it’s wings or pecking at it. I know that doves mate for life, so assume that this is the bird’s partner.
People are often disparaging about birds – think ‘birdbrain’ – and in particular, pigeons and doves are ridiculed because they have successfully carved out an existence alongside humans, despite the ravages to the planet and millions of other species.
Watching this scene made me sad. It also made me think about how astonishing life is. How little we understand. How everything is connected and part of everything else. As Paul pointed out – the Buddhist concept of no-self and emptiness – nothing has an inherent essence, everything is made up of, and is dependent on, other things.
Then I read a passage in a story by Jorge Luis Borges and this poem popped into my head. I wrote it down while watching the birds bathe, flit and feast in the garden around the dead dove.
What’s in a word?
Inside a bird
is a grasshopper
and a worm
or a seed
all filled with
sun and soil
stardust and stories
the lego of life
don’t say bird lightly
the entire universe echoes through this single syllable