Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Dove

On the week before Easter, in South Florida, the Spring went away, bringing with it a North wind that felt like Siberia. Considering we sunbathe in January, this event was considered unusual. When you're not acclimated to cold temperatures, the adjustment is literally painful.

My father just was released from the hospital. At 93, he is remarkably resilient, and generally healthy, but, he fell and I had to call an ambulance. I suffered as he was evaluated for stroke, and after a few days, miraculously, he was well enough to come home, as if nothing had happened.

Part of his recovery included walking for exercise, so, a few times a day, we go out to the long catwalks outside, and go down them and back.

He rests in an open alcove, between the elevators, in a beautiful spot which overlooks our canal. As he sat to recover, an unexpected refugee from the stinging cold weather arrived, a perfect little dove, who landed next to him, and fell in love.

From that day on, the dove never left. She followed him as he walked with his walker down the catwalks, not flying, but, running beside him, like a tiny little white terrier. When he returned to the respite of the alcove, she flew back up on the railing. 

During this week of interminable chill winds, sought refuge in a small protected nook in the roof area, where a work ladder gives access to the roof. The top rungs of the ladder became a perch for her, and she was as protected from the ice-cold air and wind, as possible, and still be outdoors.

The ten residents and families who dwell on the fourth floor all developed an incredible affinity to this adorable little bird, who, started to greet them, as they walked out of the elevator and followed them to their doors, then, flew back.  At first, some people thought she must have had a broken wing, or trouble flying, since she generally ran with them, but, that's not the case.

My neighbor, Sam, said that he thought she had a bad wing, when, she remarkably, on cue, took off from the railing and soared through the air, like a little eagle, making a magnificent circle and then landing right back where she took off. The intelligence of this bird took us all by surprise, although, this incident seemed like happenstance.

Soon after we realized that she was our new resident, a new Pope was elected. This was synchronicity in that he chose the title of Pope FRANCIS I.  Many glossed over this name, but, not I. 

  Francis of Assisi has always been my Christian hero, next to Christ and the Apostles, especially Paul.  From the moment I saw Franco Zefferili's film "Brother Sun Sister Moon" as a kid, I was transformed and it led to my ultimate salvation in our LORD.

Francis, while a Catholic, was not really a Roman Catholic. He was, of course, the patron of the Franciscan Brotherhood, who revolutionized Christianity in the Middle Ages, and was used to bring back the Spirit to the Church, which was as dead and corrupt as it is in Europe today.

For this Pope to choose Francis as his patron, was intensely meaningful. Here, we were expecting the last Pope to be the Antichrist, and he does something insanely different!

When he washed the feet of a young Muslim girl on Easter week, I was moved to tears by the symbolism and compassion, for all it meant in this troubled world we live in.

The Catholic man, who lives a few doors down, started wondering if this dove who graced our presence, was a real angel. After all, it's intelligence, beauty, and devotion to us was beyond unusual.

I didn't think it was actually a celestial angel, per se, but, I wondered if "she" (we've decided she was a she, even though it is very difficult to assess the sex of doves... she's so smart, sweet, and good, we figured it was a she...) was a pet, who was dispatched, or lost from her owner.

When she started following me home, I let her in, and knew she wasn't a pet. She wouldn't perch on my finger, or do what a pet dove would do in a home, which would be to fly to a lampshade.

I have actually had a pet dove, named, "Coo", when I was married to my Humane Society husband, who, brought her home for me after someone found her in the snow, along with the pigeons of Rittenhouse Square, when we lived in Philadelphia.

In addition to my dove, I had about two dozen other birds in my life. My former fiancee and I had an indoor aviary, where we kept finches, cockatiels, and other assorted birds that people brought to me. Anytime there was an injured bird, baby bird, or any bird, the children brought them to my door. Sometimes, it was a dead bird, unfortunately, and when the children came  back to ask about the bird, I lied and told them I watched them fly away, to make them smile. It touched me that little children believed I could resuscitate birds. Ironically, it was my profession for 20 years,  to resuscitate humans, but, I only successfully gave the "kiss of life" to one bird, who did respond to bird CPR.
So, you can see why I have an affinity for Pope Francis, as I love Francis of Assisi, birds, Jesus, and the WORD of the LORD, and the message to care for the poor and needy, the sick and hopeless in this sad world. The world portrays all of God's miracles, every day, but, humans without the light of God's Love have all but set in motion the ultimate act of rebellion, to destroy the world that God made.

Never has this imperative to repent and perceive the Day of the LORD than now, and this dove, who has now been with us for close to a month, has truly blessed us.

I'll continue my dove narrative in detail, as I go along, because, there is something profoundly spiritual that is accompanying her arrival.

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