Sunday, 10 April 2011

In which I get given a dove...

This is a quick one, folks, so apologies in advance.  Yesterday was gloriously sunny and warm in Yorkshire, so we made the most of it and spent it outside.  Husband and I took the kids to the woods (I say woods; it's a reclaimed patch of colliery land that is slowly being returned to woodland, so it's full of elder, young sycamore and birch) where Witchlet One and Two can race about like crazy. 

It was rather heartening to see patches of cowslips here and there and a few bluebells under the darker cover of the sycamores.  Where we live is the remains of a mining town, rather bleak in the past under the shadow of heavy industry.  Somehow it is beginning to re-invent itself and is gradually becoming rather beautiful in places.  (Don't get TOO PRETTY, Castleford, or people will want to move here and we'll lose that close-knit, rough-diamond, extended family community spirit.  They'll do anything for you, these people, I love 'em.)

Anyway, me and Witchlet One were on the lookout for treasures - feathers, stones, bones, you know the sort of thing.  We came away with lots of views of living things - ladybirds, butterflies, cowslips, violets, bluebells - but nothing collectable.  Nothing old, dead, or mineral.  Ah well, maybe looking for that was a silly idea under a clear blue Yorkshire sky (it's a rare thing; got another one this morning - that's three days in a row!), so we just enjoyed the sunshine, rubbed bashed knees as the kids ran so fast they tripped over each other, and promised we'd come back another day.

So, back home we came, home-made applejuice ice-lollies were consumed in the garden, tea was cooked, Witchlets were chased, caught, and wrestled into pajamas, fed and settled on the sofa to have a story. 

As I went to draw the front window curtains, there on the lawn was a collared dove.  Quite obviously dead, no obvious injuries.  Her mate had been grabbed by a fox/cat/dog a couple of weeks back; I'd seen the shock of feathers under the huge Leylandii (hated by me, but loved by the doves and about fifteen pairs of nesting sparrows).  Now here she was; as though she'd sat down by my rose-bush and given up.

I wasn't going to let the fox/cat/dog get her.  Once the Witchlets were safely in bed, I dug her a grave on the opposite side of the garden, carried her gently over and laid her in it, under the faint light of the crescent moon in the twilight evening.  I left offerings of Italian brandy and organic fruity-seedy flapjacks under her tree, because you do not accept gifts from Her without giving Her something back; it's impolite and She notices such rudeness.  I went to bed humbled. 


  1. wow...this is so sad!! It's almost like she came back to the place where her mate was killed and died of a broken heart since there were no obvious injuries. Bless your heart, for burying her. I had a collared dove for a pet, he was 23 years old and had been everywhere with me. His name was Dover and he finally passed two years ago in his sleep. I still miss him! Thanks for sharing this story.

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  3. You're welcome hun, I'm a bird fan. All the local sparrows have no fear of me and bully me until I go out with yet more bird seed for them. I've watched these two doves go through their spring courtship ritual for four years now; it's sad I won't see them do it again. Sorry for your loss of Dover, 23 is a ripe old age though, what a companion!