This morning as I sat on the ground looking at my sand painting and reflecting on our upcoming 50th wedding anniversary trip to Folly Beach, South Carolina, I hear a Mourning Dove singing her easily recognizable song. Immediately, I am carried back to Garrett, Indiana. I am 5 years old. It is early morning. It is cool. I am wearing a light jacket and riding my tricycle. I am headed east as I remember the sun coming up, bringing some warmth. I hear this song. I hear a mourning dove singing its somewhat eerie, sad, yet sweet melancholy song—a song that calls me into some distance past—like a distant memory of some other time. I can remember that moment as if it is happening right now. And of course it is. For the soul exists outside of time as we know it and holds all that it has ever lived and longs to live.
At age 5 I didn’t know anything thing about the soul or the psyche or our connections to nature or the soul’s memory, the soul’s longing, the soul’s song or the soul’s call. I just remember that moment and that song, a connection that has never left me. And so again this morning as I sit on the ground, honoring all that I had put into this sand painting and all that my life had become, I am, once again, carried away by the song of the Mourning Dove. As I listen to the song coming from a turtle dove sitting not too far away, I hear several seconds later a response—a faint call—from another mourning dove some distance away, responding with that sweet, sad call. As I listen in to their exchange, I am reminded of the call of my own soul to sing its song and my response, an ever continuing dialogue of listening and responding.
According to Ted Andrews in his book Animal-Speak, the song of the dove is the rain song, invoking new waters of life, reminding us that no matter what our life conditions are, new waters and new life are still possible. Mourn what has passed and awaken to the promise of the future. The dove calls us to see what we can give birth to in our lives. (p. 134).
As I reflect back on my life some 66 years after that early morning tricycle ride where, for the first time, I hear the call of the mourning dove, I still feel that longing, the longing of some distant call, a tug in the heart to sing my song. Thank you, Mourning Dove, for the reminder to give birth to the soul’s song.