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We have Eurasian Doves throughout town, and a few pairs live in my yard all year. They especially enjoy perching on the church roof and bell tower. Doves adorning the church seems so appropriate, so biblical. I  throw bird seed on the ground near the bell tower  since the doves rarely access a bird feeder. However, this fall I  move the feeders to the back yard and set up a feeding resort. As I fill the feeders a few days ago, I toss seed over the fence, remembering my resident doves.

The next morning, doves congregate in a large number, gorging on my offering. I watch for a few minutes, intrigued by the number of doves who stop by.  This morning I open the side door to let my dog out  and several dozen doves wait up on the phone lines that run down the alley. I pause in the doorway to observe this new spectacle, and I notice they are silent and patient. As one might expect from the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the birds do not demand, but persevere on those icy wires–waiting and knowing I will surrender to their wishes. When Tango emerges they fly off, so I run back into the house and spread more seed over the fence where they are safe from my furry beast. Within minutes, the gang is back, enjoying their breakfast.

Tango loves the new bird feeding resort as much as the birds. Each morning after his breakfast, Tango carefully sniffs out seed that dropsfrom the feeders. Last week, I hang a molded bird seed bell too close to the ground and later find him munching on it. The next day, the bell disappears completely and Tango waddles slowly, looking bloated and grumpy.

I no longer tell people that I live alone, away from family.Tango is my constant companion, following me wherever I go and sleeping at the foot of my bed. We walk most days, and when I run errands, he rides along. The clan of sparrows and the pairs  of doves are family too. Other birds pass through and mooch on their way elsewhere, and a cat now lives in my garage, behind all the junk. I open up Tango’s dog kennel, which is among the mess and put down some old blankets. I do not feed him, the warm bed offering is enough. Sometimes a squirrel comes into the yard to eat the bird  food, but I do not consider this greedy member of the rat family to be kin.

With everyone fed this morning, I now move on to my work day while the birds fight in backyard and Tango settles in  at my feet for his first nap of the day.

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