Delta Mourning

The mourning doves have roosted atop the power poles again.  I had not noticed them in a while.  As I sat on my porch last evening, weary and lonesome to the point of tears, I saw a flicker of grey against the vivid blue.  With the zoom lens of my little Canon, I found her,  dark ring around her neck and a gleaming eye.   I remembered Dave Michaels and I watching them nest last year; him with his real camera, and me with nothing more to preserve the wonder but the eagerness of my writer’s heart.

Last night, the dove whom I watched seemed aware of my distant gaze.  I took shot after shot as she groomed her feathers.  She mostly faced the river but periodically, her heard swiveled northward.  She would pause, stare straight into my camera’s eye and study whatever she perceived.  I kept clicking, driven by a desire to get closer to this sturdy creature.

I couldn’t shake the sorrow last night.  I yearned to hear the cadence of familiar accents.  A friend from back home happened to message me.  As we chatted in that weird digital manner, I imagined the sassy tilt of her head and the warmth of her smile. 

She asked me if I regretted anything about my move.  The short answer is, no, I do not regret anything about the move itself.  I might wish that I had plotted the mechanics of the undertaking in a more deliberate manner, but coming to California? No regrets.  Sometimes, though — perhaps too often —  the sense of being an interloper overtakes me.

Sunday came easy to the Delta.  She cast her rays through my east window just after 5:15, blooming full near six.  I rose and stretched the cramped muscles of my spastic legs, wincing, reaching to let the blood flow and the nerves begin to awaken.  A veil of lingering sorrow eased from my shoulders as I moved around my tiny house. 

There are days like that; days when I just want to stroll down Holmes Street and wave to my neighbors; to hear the slight twang of Missouri in the voices of people whom I meet and breathe the peculiar fugue of Kansas City air in hot July.  The summer memories call loudest to my soul. With the screen door open, I’d summon my son and we’d go walking, with the dog on a lead and Patrick pushing the pedals of his Big Wheels.   He’d flush with concentration, then grin from beneath his little helmet as he propelled the vehicle around the block.

But that little boy has grown into manhood.  The woman six doors down, who always called to us on our walks, died last year.  Her son and daughter-in-law bought a place in Independence; and then her son, too, passed on.  Someone else owns my house now, and she lays claim to  whatever sense of home rises from the tender grass in the heat of a Kansas City summer.

It’s the fourteenth day of the sixty-seventh month of My Year Without Complaining.  Life continues.



05 September 2019, 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at Prospero’s in Westport: Corinne Corley’s Birthday Bash and Benefit for Rose Brooks Center!

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