Apifera Farm - where art, story, animals & woman merge. Home to artist Katherine Dunn

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©Katherine Dunn.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Mother Dove returns

Two years ago when my mother suddenly died, a Mourning Dove appeared in the front garden, near where I sat crying. It sat so still, and for so long-some 20 minutes or more-that I felt it somehow was my mother. By the end of my setting there with her, I truly believed it was her. When I walked back in the house, I went out the garden window and she was still there in the same spot, and I turned to return to her outside, but she flew. She wanted me to get on the task at hand-my life.

I have found this to be true in my own life, I can't speak for others-but when someone I love dies, they are not lost, they are only evolving into a myriad of other forms. They take up residence in songs, stories, smells, familiar places, an article of clothing, or a family Christmas ornament. For me, my mother is not one dove any more, she is all the doves. When I see a dove, I greet her. I am especially happy when doves fly very close by, and land on a fence post if I happen to be walking by. This feels like a private meeting one-on-one with my mother.

So it was with great happiness when I noticed a new nest in the piglet paddock in the pony shelter. I was doing what I'm usually doing in the piglet paddock-cleaning up poo-and there she was, sitting calmly.

She was warming the new life that was to be. She was expanding. Life was there, again, safe within a womb of shell.

I hoped I hadn't spooked her, the nest is only about 10 feet high up. The next day I made sure to have my cell phone so I could take a quick unobtrusive photo of her on her nest, and there she was. She obliged by sitting still.

That same afternoon-yesterday-I went to find that one of the new chicks was dying. I had brought home the second batch of chicks on Wednesday, Buff Orpingtons, including a little rooster as I've always admired them. No, I don't need another rooster, we have three and so far all is peaceful. But I could tell from the get go he seemed a bit off. By afternoon he was clearly dying. And he did. One of his mates also looked odd, and she died a bit later. Chick death happens and I'm not sure what it was but I replaced them with two more chicks today and hope for better health. The first four chicks I brought home a month ago are thriving and adding feathers day by day.

When I left the hen yard after burying the little chicks, I thought of Mother Dove. Outside the coop, life was evolving in some little eggs. Life and death, like mismatched socks are often worn together.