a goose egg

my dove sunflowers


in the middle of the hot baking Pennsylvania summer one day we found a couple of fledgling mourning dove siblings huddled underneath our tiny front yard wildflower patch. I was worried that their parents had abandoned them so I started sprinkling shelled sunflower seeds in their general vicinity in the hope that they would start eating them. every morning I would check on them through the glass door panel to see how they were doing. they weren’t touching the seeds. I started to worry that they were going to starve to death. and they did seem to be getting a bit lethargic. a couple of mornings later as I was peeking at them, I saw one dove approach the seeds and hesitantly try one out. I called out to my wife “THEY FOUND THE SEEDS”. my wife rushed down the stairs to share my happiness. the other dove was still just sitting there, probably the dumber brother. but soon I saw him walk up to the seeds, emulate his sister and try them out. soon, both of them were gorging on the seeds and also starting to explore their surroundings, wandering into our neighbors front yard and sitting underneath the japanese maple. they stayed in our yard most of the day eating but then in the evening I saw them sometimes in our neighbors yards, but they always returned to their huddle spot underneath our sprawling false indigo. and then one day, they were gone. on the one hand I was happy that they had grown up and left our yard, turning us into literal empty nesters. on the other hand I missed my babies. but then one day I saw little plants coming up out of the mulch where I had sprinkled those sunflower seeds. turned out they were sunflower plants. I had no idea you could even grow sunflower plants from shelled seeds. and now, in fall, our sunflower plants have grown a lot more, flowered, and are catering to late season bees and myriad other insects who gather around in droves and harvest whatever the hell it is they are finding in there. as for me, whenever I walk past the sunflowers, I remember and miss my two baby doves who shared our life space for a while. i hope they’re having a good life being stupid, clumsy and funny adult doves out there in the world. watch out for that fucking coopers hawk.