The other shock was a truly sad one. The mourning dove nest was empty - of eggs and of adults. Jon thinks that a squirrel must have come across it and driven the parents off the nest; my money was on a crow but it amounts to the same thing. My heart is broken for them. They will have to find another nesting site and hope that no hungry predators locate it.
The world is full of danger. I think this is why having a home is so vital to happiness. I have a recurring dream in which we have inexplicably sold our house and have bought another one a long distance away; throughout the dream I long for the old place, which has already been occupied by others and is irretrievably out of reach. It is relief to wake. I wonder if the doves will be nostalgic for their aerie on the stone ledge where they raised three beautiful offspring or if it will represent nothing but the memory of loss.
I have bought another book by Peter Wohlleben, the German forest-keeper who wrote the splendid book The Hidden Life of Trees. This one’s title is a teaser: The Inner Life of Animals. But it is the subtitle - Love, Grief, and Compassion / Surprising Observations of a Hidden World - which sealed the deal for me. The blurb explains that “(h)orses feel shame, deer grieve, and goats discipline their kids. Ravens call their friends by name, rats regret bad choices and butterflies choose the very best places for their children to grow up.” Sensing the complex minds and emotions of animals has never been a stretch for me so I am loving this book - especially the cover illustration of three goats with their vertical pupils and their scrappy appearance. I knew one quite well when we were regularly using a landfill site which was located next to a farm. This fellow came over to visit whenever he saw me and I ended up spending quite a bit more time at the dump than planned. Come to think of it, I was probably the only person who absolutely loved going to the dump.
So, while I would like to drop everything and finish this book, our show is less than two weeks ago and there is still more to do. Even if the paintings are pretty much finished, there remains what I think of as the bumph stage: signing them (which I frequently forget to do), wiring them (a job I hate and which Jon has largely relieved me of, bless him) and creating labels and so on, hauling them around, and so on. An elderly (95 yr-old) friend thought he had solved the problem of distribution when he sneaked a bunch of large and truly excellent paintings of his out with the recycling. His wife quite rightly ordered him to haul them back in again. Jon and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. We kind of wished we had found them first!
And so it goes, as Vonnegut would say. Life - ain’t it awful! But ain’t it great, especially if there are no immediate plans to sell the house.