For the past few years a Robin has returned to my porch and nested on top of an air conditioning enclosure. This year a dove created a nest in an empty plant container. When she and her chick were gone, I found a second egg, perfectly shaped, beautiful in every way but apparently incapable of sending life into the sky.
Doves protect themselves in a variety of ways. One way is to remain immobile when approached, believing that they are hard to see no doubt. Usually their camouflage works well. But of course sitting in a plastic bowl on my porch railing was something else. Still, I was able to walk out onto my porch a few times to do other things, without causing a fuss. As long as I moved slowly this mother sat, perfectly still, clearly aware of me but calm. She sat on her eggs for days, day and night, even through an outrageous storm. She was resolute, brave, and dedicated.
Finally I could see activity. She held her wings wide and protected her newborn. It seemed only a few days later when mother and daughter were gone (OK I made that up, I don’t know if it was a male or female). Then I noticed the second egg. This mother did the best she could. She diligently watched over her eggs, and on some level I’m sure she was concerned when one hatched and the other did not. But when it was time to move on, she did so without looking back.
It is in our nature to wonder what went wrong sometimes. How beautiful the egg, how unfortunate the result, and yet, so natural. To think anything more of it is somehow extra, but it caught my attention, this quiet drama unfolding on the porch.