They did it again. The adult mourning doves returned to the balcony and were nesting by June 17. June 30 saw not two but only one baby. This time, I did not take as many photos, but checked in every day. Today, worried for the rain, I saw the baby who had been left on its own last night was still there, and when I checked back a few hours later, saw it take its first ( for me, anyway) steps on the grates of the balcony. Then I came back in two hours and discovered an empty nest. Once again, I rushed down the stairs to see if it was in the yard. I saw a snake lying in an S shape a few yards away, but surely, it could not have eaten the baby. From a distance, I tried to see of I could make out a lump in its stomach. I heard a mourning dove coo faintly from deep in woods. Had the baby simply flown? It had been a month, after all, and it had received food meant for two.
Tomorrow, I will once again clear away the nest, and clean up the umbrella. Maybe I can have my balcony back. To sit outside on a chair, and read, maybe with the umbrella installed and open. Or will the parents return for a third brood?
It is tomorrow, and I still hear the faint cooing. A giant moth has attached itself to the window screen. If mourning doves symbolize new beginnings, moths suggest a person pay attention to discern the unreal from the real. Sitting at my desk, overlooking the balcony, I see a world unfold. The bee that’s discovered the pansies which are still blooming, and the fuschia. The two hummingbirds that visit the salvia. Oh, there is one now. The larger world is filled with death and life, and this balcony is a microcosm. A play of entrances and exits. Above, the canopy of sun and starlight. Below, the earth in its radient charm.
Regardless if one stays or goes, the garden must be planted, if only to provide beauty and pollination and fragrance a few brief months. In went the herbs, the annuals, the seeds. My neighbors and I will have salad with edible flowers, and maybe some one else will provide tomatoes. In the back, late autumn vines will open up with color. The columbines are nodding, the violas brighten, and foxglove emerges confidently. I have sprinkled love-in-a-mist, alyssum, poppies, and hollyhocks in between plantings, and will not pull any weeds except the most identifiable to give the green shoots a fair chance. Somewhere, inside one of the Shakespeare plays, is a gorgeous piece about flowers, about cowslips and lilies. For years, I put off adding a roses, thinking I will not be here long enough to enjoy them, but last year, I rescued three, and they have survived the terrible winter, as has the dicentra, clematis, cinnamon ferns, and sweet william. Why is it writing the name of flowers gives as much joy as being in the garden? What are you planting and tending? Let’s compare garden notes.