Friday, April 3, 2009

Mourning Doves

Image by Belli Photography

When it comes to symbolizing the most profound aspects of the soul, doves seem to have the market cornered. And with good reason. At weddings, they are symbols of faithfulness and fertility. At church, they represent the Holy Spirit. And with olive branch in beak, the dove is a worldwide icon for peace. But what about mourning?

Juliane Poirier Locke's article in is a lovely mediation on mourning doves. Here's an excerpt:

"Somewhere in the throat of a mourning dove resides unfathomable emotion, gathering all that other species can't express, in a voice rich enough to get even a human to feel it. This makes the mourning dove something like those professional mourners at an Irish wake, the ones who "raise a keen" for the dead, moaning a primitive lament. They channel unrestrained grief, helping everyone find within themselves sorrow's universal bell tone. The vibrations of audible grief strike a sympathetic resonance in the chest cavity where the heart is supposed to reside and feel things."

I happen to live in on a hill where a flock of mourning doves gather in the fir trees at dusk. Their cooing is forlorn, yet I'm struck by how they always stick together. If you see one alone, it's not for long. For me, this is an instructional allegory on loss - in our sadness we should seek out the ones we love. And know we are not alone.

Here are some Mourning Dove items I've found on Etsy:

Mourning Doves Gocco Print on Teal by Kaiku

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