Saturday, December 3, 2011

the doves

Her tree stretches up and out. I hung a small bell patina-ed green. Her tree is still small, but taller than my husband. When it dropped its leaves this year, they blushed from red to yellow to green, top to bottom, like the rainbow. I kissed Lucy's tree when I was stacking wood beside it. It caught me off guard. I thought of it and kissed it and then thought myself crazy.

We search the nooks of our postage stamp backyard, looking for gnome homes.

I am crazy, possibly silly.

Beatrice hears an owl. "Mama, mama, I hear an owl saying, 'whooo, whooo.'"
"That is the sound of the mourning dove, my angel."
"Because it is morning?"
"No, because it is in mourning, grieving."

Like us, I think. Are we still mourning? No, we are something else. We are just doves, cooing and sounding sad, rooting for coffee in the rocks. They still call us the mourning ones. We lost our baby once. She flew from the womb and out the door and into another bird nest. It rested above a bell that chimed every time she sang.

The mourning doves bleat. Or coo. Or weep. Or keen in the sunlight, nesting in the river rocks that circle our house like a moat. I watch them scurry, like rodents, when I approach. They protect their nest, or mourn their nest. Their song makes them mysterious, but I cannot help but think them ridiculous when I see them waddle away into the driveway.

Their grief makes them sound like owls, like night hunters, like something other than defenseless, featherbrained doves.

Whoooooo can save me? 

They sing their dirge.

Whooooo will sit with me? 

It is a eulogy.

Whooooo will accompany me to the underworld, save her soul? 

The doves bring compassion and absurdity, like a comedic Greek Chorus.

Whooooo are you? Really? When the daughter dies, whoooo do you become? Whoooo do you mourn? She whoooo never breathed. She whoooo only slightly came into being. Whooooo was she even?

Whooo are you even?

It never gets easier to write her name amongst the dead. I do it every year. I write their names every month, on the top of my blog, but when it is her name, it catches me up. I hiccup in sadness. It sounds like the croak of a dove, mournful but silly.


  1. Awe Lucia...why did you have to fly away?

    A tree, especially Lucy's tree always needs kisses. :)

    We have doves in our yard. They are such dumb birds, but I love when they sit on our chimney and their cooing echos down into our living room. It is haunting, distant and beautiful.

    Thinking of you and Lucy

  2. Oh Angie, the title of your post caught in my throat this morning. Holding you close in my thoughts this month particularly. x

  3. Sending so much love to you, Angie and always remembering Lucia.

  4. If kissing trees is crazy, I wish there were more crazy people.

    Lucia Paz, you have a one-in-a-million mother.

    Little girl, you are missed and missed and missed,

    Cathy in Missouri

  5. Don't worry. I kiss my trees too. I am not crazy. You are not crazy. Our daughters are loved and beloved. And these vibrant living things remind us of them.

    I love you.

  6. This was a beautiful use of imagery. Who was she? Who are we? The doves ask us questions, the landscape speaks to us.

    I kiss my tattoo from time to time. And the rocks we pull from the river where her ashes were spread. And the necklace that my sister made for her. And my living daughter, ten thousand times a day, since I find my Margot in her every day.

    This is my first December to miss your Lucy. Lucia Paz. This is one of my favorite names I have ever heard. And it sounds as wonderful as it reads. Lucia Paz.

    Peace and gentleness to you today my friend.


  7. Thinking about your Lucy especially this month.

  8. Thinking of your December girl, and the soft transition between grieving and mourning. I kiss Eliza's bracelet, twice, every time I take it off at night.

  9. I love that you shared with us that you kissed her tree and I don't find it silly at all. I only wish you had her there to love and raise and kiss her rosy cheeks instead. Thinking of you and Lucia especially during this month. (((Hugs)))

  10. Thinking about you and your Lucy so much this month.

    I love that you kissed Lucy's tree. Maybe because I read so many fairy tales, I tend to think of trees as being significant to mothers and daughters & the connection between them - in many versions of Cinderella, the fairy godmother is actually a tree.

    And I am now blown away and smiling (but not just smiling) at your image of mourning doves as Greek Chorus.

  11. So much tenderness. In the kissed tree. In the kindly, absurd Greek chorus of the doves.

    This is just such a beautiful, beautiful piece of writing. Thinking of you and remembering Lucia Paz, especially this month of December xo

  12. Thinking of you and Lucia so much this month and always.

    I just realized (DUH) that my friend has two daughters, older named Lucy and the younger named Bea. It makes me think of you every time she mentions them, what could have been you.

    Sending lots of love.

  13. So many thoughts this month, but many flutter around Lucy and you. Thinking of you and sending love.

  14. I wrote something about birds just recently--one of my encounters was with two doves, which I really don't think are even common in our area, so it was very strange indeed. I looked up some symbolism/shamanism/animal spirit/totem business and found this: “If dove flies into your life, you are being asked to go within and release your emotional disharmony, be it of the past or the present. Dove helps us to rid trauma stored within our cellular memory…Doves carry the energy of promise. When inner agitation is banished from our thoughts, words and feelings, the goodness awaits us. So we are able to receive the gifts doves present us, healing on all levels - emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually - is of utmost importance.” I read that and just cried and cried and cried.

  15. I loved this. The sound of mourning doves always takes me back to summer mornings at my grandmother's house, waking up with a breeze coming through the open window & the sound of the doves. (When I was younger, I used to think it was "morning" doves because I'd always hear them in the morning.) "Whoooo" indeed.


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