Really?

After an absence of nearly a week, a mourning dove came by the balcony this evening. I just caught a glimpse, and to me, it looked young, as it moved its bright-eyed head. A flash of tail feathers, and it was gone. Did it really leave a small stick behind? 

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Balcony 2020

That was a few days ago. The doves haven’t returned, but a snake has taken up residenice in the front yard. It seems happy, and I can be happy as long as I know where it and isn’t. The blog posts are out of sequence a bit, and I’m not sure why. Today I ventured out more than I ordinarily have, and found myself in traffic. I let many cars pass, as I did not need to be anywhere in a hurry. How strange not to rush for the bus, gambling on finding a parking lot at the nearest station, or skipping the exit for something over the bridge. How strange not to be rushing through South Station, grabbing a bite to eat on the way to class, and after class is over, rushing back to station to make it home by midnight. I would like those days to be in the past. I don’t mind teaching, but I do mind a commute that is longer than the time I actually spend on campus. Yet weren’t those the days, to be grateful for a seat alone in a compartment, falling asleep until the bus ground to a noisy halt?

Pruning a Third

Indira Ganesan, Overgrown, 2019

Lately I have been studying rose pruning.  I have watched excellent videos here and here and bracing myself up for the task.

In much the same manner, I have decided to prune a third of my last manuscript, in order to obtain what I hope will be strong growth this summer.

It is easier to talk about roses than my work, so let me tell you about the roses.  I never thought I could grow a rose, living in rentals and year-by-year situations, until I took the plunge and planted a white rose I found at the remainder shelf (not far does the literary metaphor stray) at my local nursery.  It was a beraggled “iceberg” which patiently offers up half a dozen flowers each year.  Sometimes a flower has a delicate red stripe on one petal. I keep waiting for it to branch out, but so far, it has remained steady and very slow.

Indira Ganesan, iceberg Rose, 2017

My next was a rescue red, whose name I don’t know.  It too does not offer nymerous flowers, but the growth has been steady.  I wish I took pictures when I first bought it, as it looked pretty sad indeed.

Indira Ganesan, Rescue Red, 2018

Third time for me was the charm as late one fall I got my first David Austin rose on discount.  This was James Galway, and a climber, to my surprise.  Now standing seven feet tall, it produces masses of fragrant pink blooms throught June, and again in late summer.  This is the rose I need to train to a proper structure, as it is in need of care.  Two late autumn sale roses met their maker after a furious winter, but now I have two springtime purchases: a Lady Emma Hamilton which probably needs to get out of her put and into the ground, and  struggling Getrude Jeckyll.  I had first planted the Getrude Jeckyll in a shady spot, then moved her to a sunny spot.  I think she did not take to the move, especially as an agressive spirea  was growing next to her. I am going to transplant the spirea and hope for the best.

Indira Ganesan, James Galway Rose, 2017

Indira Ganesan, Lady Emma Hamilton Rose, 2019

Indira Ganesan, Gertrude Jeckyll Rose, 2019

heartsick

The last picture of the doves, May 21, 2020 (the older one was testing its wings.  They spent the rest of the day in their nests.  I checked at 8pm or so, and they were still in the nest, cuddled together.)

 

This morning I went to check on the mourning dove fledglings that were nesting on my balcony.  Since April 23, Shakespeare’s birth/death day, I have been watching this nest, as first the mother came and laid two eggs, then watched the fledgings slowly emerge into sunlight.  My research suggested they would be ready to leave the next Saturday, May 23.  But it is Friday, May 22, and this morning, the two parent doves were investigating what was an empty nest. After they left, I took a closer look.  In the nest was a lump of red something, resembling a dried date, and I worried it was gristle.  Had a hawk come and devoured the babies in the night?  All day I have opened and closed the sliding door, feeling sick.  I examined the ground underneath, and the woods a bit, but found nothing.  Now, about twelve hours after my discovery of the empty nest, I take another look.  I can hear the mourning doves, somehwere in the woods, cooing, the parents, I think.  Mourning.

Having spent the last month photographing the nest, posting the pictures on Instagram, getting positive responses, I wonder if I had somehow drawn attention to the nest?   I had once seen three falcons circle and sweep by very close to the terrace, an unusual occurrence, but that had been over a week ago.  Had the hawks been waiting all along, for the birds to fatten?  How terrified the babies must have been.  Had they first thought it was their mother, only to discover the truth?

What is the truth?  An empty nest, a day or two too early, a pair of parents searching the terrace.  Life is tragedy and comedy side by side, always.  A falcon didn’t eat the baby birds out of meanness, just hunger, perhaps to feed its own children.  Yet the smell of death lingers.  I light incense, knowing I will check and recheck for the next two days. I cannot shake my sadness off, or the tears.  I became too attached.

The wind is picking up.  These baby birds survived torrential rain, wind, and even bitter cold.  They made a home in a bare scrap of twigs on an open grid floor, open to the elements on three sides.  I hear another bird chirping over the wind.  Who knows what happened, after all?

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