A Peaceful Flock of Grey Doves…


We took our “Holy Week” holiday a few days early, heading to the beach on Saturday and getting back yesterday, just as the hoards of city dwellers were starting their own pilgrimages to the beaches. So we are back in Manila for the next few days and it is blissfully calm and quiet. I woke this morning at 6:30am, looked out at the back yard, and was surprised to see a flock of some 14-18 grey doves or are they pigeons (the same family I gather) foraging for worms or other edibles. They combed the lawn efficiently, covering lots of ground and seemingly making a point of avoiding previously scoured areas. It was an unusual sight. Perhaps only once or twice a year do I ever see doves or pigeons in our yard, and this was a pretty well-timed visit, if you ask me.


The doves just seemed so content and so peaceful, as trite a description of a dove as that could be… They walked and sat around, seemingly chatting about how nicely lush the lawn was, and wondering if the homeowners would put on a sprinkler soon so they could take a bath, and oh that little earthworm was just perfection and that there seemed to be a lot less pollution on their flight over. They just kept yapping away that I was able to go get my camera and from a distance, snap several photos.

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They didn’t seem to mind my presence, and they even walked over to the pool, peering in to see if it was shallow enough for a bath. But they decided against it and continued foraging for food. I wish we had some bird seed around, I would have fed them silly. But they got me thinking… so early in the morning. I am not a religious person (but probably headed to Rome this year to cross the doors, Mrs. MM says to have all my sins forgiven, that’s a free pass I can’t resist, sounds too easy to me) nor a particularly spiritual one, (and more likely to believe I would more likely turn to worm food if I had not intervened by leaving instructions for a cremation in a really good pizza oven), but I think I believe most in trying to do the right thing, most of the time, for the sole reason that I believe it is the right thing to do, not because of reward or punishment at some future date. I have often wondered aloud, what if you do just turn into worm food, wouldn’t that “reward” or at least not “punish” those of us who maim, kill, rob, rape, plunder, etc. etc. in this life? Our daughter said to look up “Pascale’s Wager” as she tried to steer me to a more mathematical approach to the issue…

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I certainly HOPE there is eternal life for those who want it, if only to reward those on this world who really “deserve it” but I equally hope there is such a thing as eternal damnation, for those on this world who also “deserve it”… but if it should happen that you do indeed just turn into worm food and nothing else, then I just hope there is a lot more PEACE right now because we are intellectually capable of it, we just don’t seem to collectively want it enough. My thoughts and prayers this Holy Week go out to the families of the innocent bystanders who were killed and injured in the most recent terrorist attacks in Brussels, Belgium.


12 Responses

  1. Hmm… Geopelia striata? Zebra dove. Then it’s very fitting to this post for they are closely related(formerly classified with) to Australia’s Geopelia placida Peaceful dove.

  2. A beautiful spiritual reflection post on Good Friday and with an existentialist viewpoint.

    I might just add to your :”I just hope there is a lot more PEACE right now because we are intellectually capable of it, we just don’t seem to collectively want it enough” my soul’s lament: the disconnect that people keep doing the things that work against their own interests and those of the society at large. Lord help us all.

    A blessed Easter season to you and yours and the netizens who visit this blog.

  3. We call these calm and graceful birds “bato bato.” Of late, I noticed that they have grown in number, exceeding the usual brown sparrows which in contrast are hyper. Something must have happened to the latter because I’m seeing less and less of them. Thanks for the wonderful message MM, my own take is this — that when we croak ( or chirp, in keeping with your theme) our last, we would have been more of a blessing than a blight to others. Though I’m late to this Marketmanila party, having discovered the blog only a year ago, please know that it is a blessing to me.

  4. Thank you for sharing your reflection, MM Glad you caught the early morning light and the doves – peaceable.

  5. Those birds are called bato bato or zebra doves. We have 4-6 of those living around our house.

    Had the privilege of passing through the Holy Door of St Peter’s Basilica during the Jubilee Year in 2000. This year, we are lucky that our local parish church has been chosen by the diocese as one of the pilgrim churches for the Jubilee Year of Mercy. No need to travel to Rome to pass through a holy door. Take note MM that gaining indulgence isn’t as simple as passing through the Holy Door. According to the letter written by Pope Francis:

    “To experience and obtain the Indulgence, the faithful are called to make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door, open in every Cathedral or in the churches designated by the Diocesan Bishop, and in the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion. Likewise, I dispose that the Indulgence may be obtained in the Shrines in which the Door of Mercy is open and in the churches which traditionally are identified as Jubilee Churches. It is important that this moment be linked, first and foremost, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy. It will be necessary to accompany these celebrations with the profession of faith and with prayer for me and for the intentions that I bear in my heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world.”

  6. ami, thanks, and noted. I still think that’s a very doable exchange for the indulgence. It kind of worries me that millions of people will just do evil and then pass through the doors with remorse and be forgiven… :(

  7. MM, think of the parable of the prodigal son. No matter how wicked or naughty you’ve been, as long as you are humble, remorseful and repent then God will be merciful and forgiving. Let’s hope that those evil people passing through the Holy Door would have an epiphany and change their evil ways.

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