Celebrating East African Writing!
The dove announced its arrival in a boisterous manner by falling from the roof top to the porch of my house while I was cooking beef last week.
My initial reaction to the arrival of the bird, which arrived with much ado, was to add it to my beef stew.
I have never tasted pigeon meat and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to do so.
However after some soul searching, my desire to end my curiosity by adding some exotic taste to my taste- buds notwithstanding, I opted to let it be.
I came to the decision after the realization that eating the bird might meet my immediate need; that of satisfying my palate and curiosity but come tomorrow, I will still wake up hungry minus the dove.
I have to admit also that the other reason for not thickening my beef stew with some exotic bird meat was because of even more curiosity.
I wondered out loud the nature of the dove’s visit. Was it harbinger of good tidings that were yet to come upon my life? I asked no one in particular.
And so began our week long affair and sojourn of the dove that fell from the sky (actually it was from the rooftop).
To have some formal introductions between us and since the bird was able to figure out my address, I conveniently christened it the drive-in dove from nowhere-land.
Every morning before I left in search of my daily bread, I would perform the new chore among the others that define my predictable life, by feeding the drive-in dove from nowhere-land with a handful of rice and a bowl of water.
Don’t blame my choice of food for the bird; I have never before in my life kept a pigeon as a pet. The dogs would probably not allow.
Anyway, the dove would eat my rice without a fuss maybe for lack of choice but not the water.
I would always pour down the bowl of water the next day and refill again but all in vain. This was a routine that I expected to perform for the one week it lasted.
On Sunday last week, five days after our first acquaintance, the drive-in dove flew to where I sat outside reading a newspaper and perched on the seat.
Though I would have preferred it to have perched on my shoulder, I none the less considered that action to have been the ultimate expression of trust between us or perhaps it was trying to acknowledge my feeding effort and hospitality.
On Monday this week, it unsuccessfully tried to chase away two quail birds (smaller to it but larger than robins and you would normally find them in hordes attacking a wheat field) which ganged up against her (not sure about the sex though they all look female to me) in order to eat her plate of rice.
She would chase one, and the other would take the opportunity to eat as much rice as possible. And they would use this ploy in turns until she left them to their naughty devices. Though I wondered if this was Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest.
Come Tuesday, I had left the house without much drama I witnessed on Monday save for my usual feeding ritual.
When I came back in the evening, I found the drive-in dove from nowhere-land near my door step which was rather unusual.
Anyway, after our usual acknowledgements-sizing each other up and flapping of wings-I entered the house. When I came out a short while later, the dove was nowhere in sight.
This is when I realized that the dove was waiting that evening at the door step to bid me goodbye. It thought it an act of betrayal to have left before I came back even though I came later than usual.
I still haven’t figured out why the dove came into my life (it could have been injured for all I know) albeit for a short while and I’m not sure if it will ever come back.
But what I’ve learnt is that strangers can become dear friends and might leave a lasting impression when they opt to leave even though they didn’t talk much when they stayed.
I don’t know what morals or lessons from this true story that you have learned, but I leave it to you to make your own interpretation.
© Gitura Kihuria 2009
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