OUR 61st WEDDING ANNIVERSARY AND
THE BLESSING OF THE DOVES
There are some times when ‘coincidence’ is so fortuitous, so amazing, even so comical, you know there is way more behind what just happened to you than the law of chance. Gordon and I had so many serendipitous moments in celebrating our 61st wedding anniversary that they decidedly call for being inscribed into written memory, and shared with special celebration.
The first one began, as things so often do in life, by being so incredibly frustrating and irritating it was seemingly throwing all our plans for a happy holiday completely out of kilter. In the end it led to a wonderful reward that won our hearts and took our breath away, like abeautiful moment in church, a sacred moment in the forest. Ultimately, we felt a mantle of blessing by Nature herself.
In preparing for our anniversary adventure, (I had wanted to go flying, but Gordon wanted a cruise) I arranged for a two hour sunset
sailboat ride atMonterey Bay.Our daughter,Lauren, is very skilled at managing on line hotel arrangements and I asked her to do this for us. She would help drive us there. But we never got to talk about the arrangements ahead of time.
A little annoyed we couldn’t connect, I left her a message that I had arranged a ‘sunset cruise‘ in Monterey. Just as we were ready to leave I found she had booked our lodging in Santa Cruz forty miles away from where we needed to be! I spent a day punctuatedwith spurts of residual irritation, thinking she had mis-heard ‘Sunset Cruise’ as ‘Santa Cruz‘. Later, on the drive back home, we checked the message on her phone to settle our bickering over what had actually happened, and there was my voice in complete unconsciousness saying “in Santa Cruz”. What was I thinking of? But a sweet discovery lay ahead and I, with my flat out disconnect (or was it a connect?) had just played a major role in setting it up.
With Lauren’s busy schedule we couldn’t leave till noon which meant that we would now not have time to check into a hotel room to rest after the four hour drive before going on our sailing adventure. As Gordon drove, Lauren, trying to find a solution, got on the phone to the hotel booking agent and tried to move our reservation to the next night. No, couldn’t be done. And what was the penalty for canceling? Full Price. No mercy there. If we booked a place closer to Monterey we would have to pay that in full too. Eventually we decided to go ahead and drive back to the hotel she had paid for after our big adventure, hoping we wouldn’t be too tired.
When we arrived at last, late at night, we found our room was on the second floor. Darn. No fun to drag everything, including the ice chest, up there. We wearily set to. The stair well was partly enclosed and our room right at the top of the stairs. So we climbed the ‘path’ to the waiting threshold of our anniversary abode, quite unaware the most charming surprise awaited us. There on the window sill of the stairwell rested a little wild dove nesting in the corner just inches away from all of us passing by!
The morning dove, for that is what I call them, (not their official name of “mourning” doves) are my favorite birds, so gently appealing in their appearance, so soothing with their sweet, low melodious song. We were charmed and uplifted. A very special sign we all agreed.
The manager, who was Hindu, had apparently brought a reverence for nature to his workplace that allowed a little wild bird to have a nest in the window of the business establishment. Cheered, we fell asleep, full of a long happy day and slept hard.
The next morning I spoke to Gordon about the little bird. “You know this is why we had to come here. It is like a sign for us. We have been devoted to our family, they have been central to the mission of our lives together and here we find this little bird, who happens to be my favorite bird, caring for the nest!” We both smiled and agreed. We all decided we had ended up in Santa Cruz (which means the Holy Cross) because we had needed to come here for the ‘Blessing of the Dove.”
We have had doves at our home for over twenty years, their sweet cooing and laughing calls are a hallmark of our White Feather Ranch. Our sons, Gary and Cameron, built the dove cage for their father’s birthday 25 years ago and the birds are the source of white feathers we often send to friends as a symbol of a ‘lucky day‘. The wonder of finding a white feather is the special lore we have had in our family for generations. A white feather is a sign of a fortuitous day and it is quite amazing how they show up in the most diverse places! This anniversary day seemed like it was becoming a white feather day for sure as we were blessed by the Dove!
We had Lauren take some pictures of the two of us together there with the little dove in the back ground as the special talisman for our anniversary and our marriage. The devoted mother bird didn’t move a feather as we stood close by, but her bright little eyes were fixed upon us as she courageously and firmly guarded her eggs.
I went back to our hotel room to take one last look to make sure we had not left anything before leaving the next morning. Gordon stood waiting for me in the sunny yellow stairwell, lit by two large windows. A hotel worker passed by saying they had left a small sea shell with water for the little bird and some food but she hadn’t touched any of it. They were concerned about her nourishment.
Then suddenly, as Gordon stood there alone waiting for me, another dove flew in. He quickly realized it was the mate of the little dove. The two birds met and connected and then the little mother flew away and the papa, after pushing the eggs into proper configuration, sat down on them himself, his fine black tail straight up in the corner.
I didn’t know these birds took turns on the nest! These were little love doves sharing the care of their family! We would later find out they mated for life and both care for the young. Our anniversary blessing of the doves took on even more significance for us! For us this was truly a affirmation of working together to care for the young that has been the hallmark of our marriage time together! We were in awed delight that we had just been gifted with the full picture of the Mama and the Papa both so committed in their parenting. We took pictures of the papa bird too, as he steadfastly stood his nest ground with a little shining eye even brighter than his mate’s.
It takes team work, lots of it, for a long time, to make a family work, to make a marriage work. As we drove away the tears flowed as I thought of this special ‘message’ for us, feeling honored and blessed. Acknowledged even for all the times we had struggled along sometimes, including times we had so missed the mark, and yet we have always have made celebration and commitment a high priority…both of us. Gordon has often told others his children are the ‘finest kind’ his appreciation of them all is central to his life, to our lives.
But there was more to come that day, the blessings of nature, the doves, and white feathers in abundance. This was only the beginning.