Today in Colombia I heard a mourning dove. It was the same call I heard thirty years ago in Nebraska, so I asked myself, How many generations of mourning doves have been born in thirty years? How far back in the family tree before the one I heard in 1992 is related to the one I heard in 2022?
To me, it’s just a mourning dove. They’re all the same. Judging by their calls, I’m right.
Ironic, though: This mourning dove reminded me of my grandpa. I visited frequently as a kid the little trailer my grandparents kept on a sand-pit pond. It was there, on summer mornings after awakening to the smell of coffee and the sound of Grandpa jostling fishing tackle, as fog rose from the warm pond into the cool air, that I heard a distinct call: who WHO, who, who, who – rising, then falling, falling, falling.
Maybe sometimes it was a mourning dove I had heard before, but I’m sure no mourning dove I heard in Nebraska in 1992, I later heard in Colombia in 2022.
Yet the mourning dove I heard today reminded me of my grandfather, a man who died in 2007, and who, to me, was not just another bird.