On the Universality of Morning Doves

They’re here. Every morning, hidden away in the sparse jungle remnants around the condos. “hoohoo hoo”, they seem to be asking, and answering, “roo rooroo”.

They’re not the smartest creatures, honestly. We had them in Ojai, and for some reason they were obsessed by the ground under one of the Mulberry trees. Maybe they lay eggs on the ground, or the earth there smells like trees in estrus, who knows? What I do know is that my dog, Natalie is The Death of Small Things ™, and morning doves earn no exception. I’m lying in the early heat of a July hammock, yelling at the dumb things, “Hey, get outta here! She’s like 8 feet away, you dumb little #*&^@^!”

I go to a retreat in Hawaii most years on the big island with Kim Rosen. It’s mystery, meditation, poetry, black rocks, Balinese retreat center and a dolphin bay pretending to be 2 weeks of normal space-time. We’re encouraged to “roll over and write” in the mornings, dumping the contents of our partially-assembled consciousness into our journals/notebooks/bare legs/whatever. Always there in the shadow of the volcano morning are the morning doves, cooing and cuddling away to themselves. And every evening as we sit in exhausted silence watching the sun scale down through the colors before her dip in the sea for the night, the morning doves keep their own unrhythmic time.

My writing is a jealous mistress. My first true love was working on his PhD, and his advisor once, at a party (who did not ‘officially’ know Larry and I were dating or even that Larry was gay), took me aside, and said, “I know you’re a big boy, both of you, but you should know that working on a PhD is like already having a demanding mistress. It’s a real killer to relationships. You know?” Then, before I could answer, he roped another professor into our conversation and we started talking about Tahoe vacations in the summer and if they were worth it.

Maybe it’s habit. Most mornings, most evenings, I want to get away from whatever, to sit quietly with PóliPad (my iPad), hammer out some poems, write a blog post, work on my book, whatever. Writing doesn’t seem to take days off (thanks, Greg Dorando!). Like the doves, it seems to be there in the mornings, sometimes in the dark for no reason, clucking away to itself, inviting me, as a side conversation, to join it in praise of twilight. Maybe it’s just the introvert nature finding its level, looking for a balance to the communality of life.

This beautiful Thai artist has been showing me his … country, among other things. We went to his home village, stayed with his parents (I’m talking to you, all the not-out dudes who’ve ever dated me). Back in the big city, there are mall adventures, the gayest bars on the planet, walking markets, book openings, a bohemian paradise! And for the last few days, we’re walking in the cool shade of morning, in the hot, crowded streetside, and I’m plotting my escape, crowbarring out a space to sit with my ipad or my journal and write.

Here I am, finally, a beautiful teak-adorned coffee shop. Alone, at last with my writing!

Better play some music…. I think I should post some of those photos on Facebook…. I wonder what’s going on in my IM client? Maybe there’s someone to chat with….

Maybe you can’t just be a cooing in the half-waking world, maybe you also have to be the morning dove on the ground with Natalie stalking close.




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