This is a photographer’s blog, but this entry has no photos. I just came home from walking my dogs (2 cocker spaniels & 1 cockapoo) and when I’m out with them, I take only my keys and some poopie bags. It was just a walk in the neighborhood, but this one of those times when I really wish I would have had a camera with.

We walked to Magnolia Cemetery, about 4 blocks from my house. Today was a pleasant Saturday afternoon in mid-August and I had the urge to go to the cemetery. I love cemeteries – I find them peaceful and interesting.  Magnolia Cemetery takes up a square block with the front half about 3/4 filled with graves and the back half still open grass.  There were about a dozen people in the cemetery with us, but I was the only one old enough to vote.

The pups and I cut through the grass and then had to walk around a chain divider to get onto one of the paved paths in the grounds.  We had a nasty thunderstorm last night, so there were  lots of puddles in the path. As we passed some cedar trees, a wonderful sight came into view: alongside a large puddle was a beautiful white dove.

I was immediately captivated – the dove could have been glowing for the way my eyes were drawn to it. There are a fair number of gray mourning doves in the area, but I can’t remember ever seeing a white dove living free in the wild (or city). I stopped in my tracks and told the dogs “wait”.  I looked at the dove and it looked back at me and didn’t move.  I slowly started moving toward it, walking between the puddles and the gravestones, crossing within only about 7 feet of the bird. I was half afraid the dove would take off, but the other half felt that it wouldn’t.

The dove did not budge.

I have calm dogs who are used to taking walks, so even though they saw the bird, they kept in their position by my side. We walked to the other side of the puddle and the dove daintily turned around with 3 little steps, and continued to watch us. It didn’t look afraid in the least.

On the other side of the puddle, I stopped again and resumed gazing at this beautiful snowy bird. We were about 10 feet away at that point, with cedar trees flanking us on both sides. My two girls calmly took a few steps towards the dove, their butts and stubby tails wiggling with curiosity. The dove held its position, still looking calm and fearless. I stood there admiring the dove, feeling like I could stand there for hours.

But then two teenagers approached behind us and the dove took off. They weren’t being loud or boisterous; in fact, they were actually pretty quiet. But when they got within roughly 20 or 25 feet, the dove flew.

I watched the bird fly up, circle around and towards a tree directly in front of where I was standing. I thought it was going to land on a branch, but instead, it quickly wooshed back around, and flew directly at me.  It came so close that I instinctively flinched and I felt the turbulence from its wings. Was I surprised at that! It flew around in a circle again, but this time landed in a tree off towards my right.

I looked at the bird and it seemed to look back in my direction and then turned around and moved into the center of the tree, out of sight. I felt a sense of wonder and awe as I turned with the dogs to walk off in the opposite direction.

Everything now felt magical. We meandered amongst the gravestones and a couple rabbits darted out as we approached them. I thought of how rabbits always seemed to find homes in cemeteries – quiet, green sanctuaries in the midst of bustling, paved modern cities. I spotted an unusually shaped black marker towards the back row of graves, and I told the dogs “this way” as I turned towards it.

Still thinking about the dove – a snow white dove – I felt a memory stir in my head and I started to hear the tune of an old country-western song using those very words: “on the wings of a snow white dove, sending his pure sweet love, a sign from above, on the wings of a dove”.

Frankly, I despise c/w music, but this was an old circa 1950s song that my Dad (who crossed over in 1996) used to sing. I wondered if this was Dad saying he was around me?  At the same time we got close enough to the black grave marker for me to see that it was an angel carved from black granite, hugging the tombstone. I felt the breath leave me and peace flood over me.

I took the dogs past the last row of graves and into the open grass in the back of the cemetery. I dropped a dirty poopie bag in a trash can that was well-used and practically over-flowing. The abundance of garbage in the trash can made me realize that there was very little litter in this cemetery. Quite a wonder, I thought (still basking in the sensation of the dove) – did even the kids who hung out here have a sense of reverence, compelling them to use the trash cans instead of just dropping their cans, bottles and bags?

We walked a bit further and the gentle breeze felt especially delightful on my face.  I saw the sun gleam through the leaves of a large, perfectly shaped tree. I thought once more “I wish I had a camera – that would make a wondrous picture” as the sunbeams would certainly have produced a gorgeous lens flare.

Everything was feeling magical. I let the dogs happily sniff around as we leisurely strolled the grounds. Eventually I headed the dogs towards the gate and across busy Levick Street. I started composing this blog in my head on the walk home as I wanted to preserve the experience for myself as well as share it.

Was my Dad, the Universe or another benevolent Soul making contact or giving me a sign? I’m not prepared to blog a metaphysical thesis, and everyone will believe what they want to anyhow. Suffice to say that my feelings tell me this was special. And as a friend has frequently said, feeling good is good enough.

Peace and love, no matter what you believe…. on the wings of a Dove.

Colleen (gjfoto.com)