Life in the Gutter

For weeks I took the stairs softly, mindful that a Mourning Dove couple had seen my stairwell’s sheltered gutter as prime nesting real estate.  In amazement I watched the changing of the doves, ensuring that eggs and nestlings always had cover.  In awe I witnessed the chicks’ persistent pecking of the adult beak, and watched it then open and regurgitate dove deliciousness into the gaping baby’s mouth.  The clamoring feathered chicks seemed oblivious to the nest height as they teetered on the gutter edge afterward.

Today’s gutter is empty, the feathered bundles of Mourning Dove fluff are out in the big beyond.  I hear the soft oo oo oo, echoed by a softer, higher, tentative, oo  oo oo.  Parent and child, carefully keeping tabs on one another.  It is a beautiful duet, plaintive, hopeful, loving.

I am here.  Yes, I am here, too.

That duet is one I repeat with my newly fledged adults.  Wee text messages, brief Facebook messages, short emails, even shorter phone calls.

I am here.  Yes, I am here, too.