Lesson from a Mourning Dove

Last spring, a mourning dove built a nest in the palm tree outside my office window. I looked forward to watching the babies hatch.

But that never happened. One day, only part of the nest remained in the tree. Broken eggs and the rest of the nest were on the ground. I don’t know if the wind or a cat knocked the nest down.

Mourning Dove chicksThis spring, a smaller mourning dove built a nest on the other side of the same palm tree. The brave little mother sat there through freezing nights, some frigid days, one night of strong winds, and a couple of downpours.

One day, she carried off an eggshell, but I saw no sign of a little one. Did the hatchling survive?

Now that we’ve had some days with temps back in the 70s, Mama has been able to leave the nest for longer periods. A week ago, I saw two little heads sticking up! Saw them again this morning–they’re growing fast. Mother and offspring barely fit in/on the nest now.

I think there’s a life lesson here. We may struggle to achieve what we attempt, and we may not be successful the first time. If we keep trying, moving forward a little at a time, we can be successful. I hope this applies to me and my first novel.

Several ideas for novels floated around in my mind several ten years ago, but I knew I wasn’t ready to tackle that large a project yet. I spent a few years honing my craft by writing short fiction and nonfiction. Even so, the writing plus the extensive research required to write a historical novel that takes place in 1911 and on two continents has sometimes been so frustrating that I twice set the project aside. Health issues were also a factor.

Past the halfway point now, I’m confident I’ll reach the end this year, hopefully by summer. I wonder if Mama Mourning Dove feels the same. She’s raising her babies all on her own–I never saw a mate bring her food.

Writing is solitary, too, but at least I have a mate to whine to now and then.

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