I had but one important task to do that summer and that was to take care of Little Dove. My husband had befriended him in early spring and the bird had become a special feathered friend. In fact, he would see us sitting on the porch and land first on the shed, then come down onto the sidewalk where he practically waddled right up to us. Little Dove would turn his head sideways and look at us with that small round eye as if to ask “What about fresh bird seed?” So when the music circuit called and my husband packed his gear and left for summer performances, he said “Don’t forget about Little Dove, remember his feeding times.”
Summer came, I revived my drought weary lawn, planted new things and of course, I remembered the backyard birds, especially Little Dove. He didn’t seek me out like he did the Music Man, but I could tell he liked me as I would catch him giving me that small, slanted dove look.
One Saturday I put water on to boil for iced tea as I was doing yard work. I had put the bird food down and and was watering some plants. I remembered that the water might be boiling so I clicked the shut-off nozzle and ran inside to the kitchen. I had only been inside a couple minutes when I returned and saw an unwelcome sight. There on the sidewalk was several feathers and drops of blood. Blood so dark red that made my heart sink in severed sadness. I turned to look and that’s when I spotted Miss Fuzz sitting on the perimeter of the sunflowers. The cat had severely injured a bird. What bird? It was nowhere to be found. I hoped it wasn’t Little Dove. I prayed it wasn’t. Do I know for sure? No. What I do know is that I never saw him again after that. I looked for him everyday to come waddling up the walkway, but he never comes. So now I watch the doves gather, some of them are staying and some are migrating away. My heart sinks with sadness and the guilt of a trust that has been broken.
Watering the grass
Little Dove came down to eat
The cat sprang swiftly