>Voice of the dove

>Yesterday I expressed my hope that the voice of the turtledove would soon be heard in the land.

Later in the day, I realized that I was actually hearing the voice of the turtledove–or at least the voice of the mourning dove–which is as close as you can get in North America!

This winter several mourning doves have been visiting our deck and eating the seed that spills from the feeders. Yesterday I came into the kitchen and startled two who flew away crying.

This morning I tried to wait patiently beside the deck door and get a picture of one, but they were too shy. I finally put down the camera and left the room. When I next came into the kitchen, I saw two mourning doves perched in the branches of a nearby tree and three sitting on the snow-covered railing of the deck! The camera was across the room and when I slowly moved to get it, they all flew away.

The soft colors of the mourning doves are more striking in winter than in summer, when they compete with a riot of color.

Whenever I see a mourning dove, I think “British dowager.” The subdued color recalls tasteful dress, the tapered tail resembles an elegant train, the stately walk conveys dignified demeanor, and the deliberate eating indicates refined dining etiquette.

Hearing the doves’ whistling wings and mournful cries reminds me of God’s promise that the progression of the seasons will not cease until this earth passes away. Spring will follow this long winter as surely as the ultimate spring in a new heaven and earth will some day replace the winter of this wilderness existence.

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