Emulating the Doves

January 19, 2011

A full moon this evening, big and round and winter-crisp bright. Nary a cloud in this cold sharpness; the dusk is bathed in blue.

Outside, I need a flash which throws a bright light on everything.

A dove is startled – and she startles me – by my first photograph. She whirrs into the air and then lights in agitation in the shade bed under the pin oak. I am surprised by her very presence, as they are more daylight birds and I haven’t seen them in weeks. When I creep closer to make a photograph, and then another, she tolerates me only so far and then whistles onto the frozen pond fountain. She cannot settle.

I know how she feels. I have not settled this week either.

This evening completes Dominic’s third day on campus, in a space of his own. Monday and Tuesday were filled with stressed phone calls, but with a vital, earth-shattering difference. Talk centered around wanting to be a part of things, of how long it would take to feel comfortable, of normal everyday getting-used-to-a-new-situation. He has not panicked, he has not said he could not make it, he does not want to come home. He is lonely, he is ill at ease, but he is not leaving.

The dove flies up again, to the top of the fence, where she is joined by her mate. Both watch me in the cold; her neck stretched, his huddled against the frigid air. I flash and flash and flash, trying to make an effective, satisfying photograph. Finally, they have had all the stress they can take and trill into the air, up, up and away.

The Faith rock is warming through the snow, melting a circle to expose its message to the waning light. It is solid and real and settled.

Today, Dominic called to talk of discovering lacrosse players in his building, of planning to play basketball with kids from Biology, of walking to class and feeling like he’s part of something.

I can settle now.

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