What do Dylan Thomas and pigs have in common?

I awakened about 4 a.m. to an ungodly racket. Not frogs this time. What on earth??? Struggling up through layers of sleep I tried to make sense of the sounds. Then it hit me. Pigs. They are slaughtering pigs for the huge cremation ceremony scheduled for Saturday. A prince died and the preparations have been ongoing for weeks. Hundreds of people will have to be fed. I am reminded of a poem by Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

The pigs do not go gently…

So, here I am, awake, sitting on my balcony, drinking coffee in the soft pink of sunrise when my dove alights in the potted bougainvillea that sits on the southeast corner of my balcony, the corner nearest The Naked Tree. A moment later, his faithful partner flutters in beside him. I’m only seven feet away and I freeze, my cup midway to my mouth. I observe in awe as they coo and examine the bush, it’s delicate white and salmon-colored blooms, and it’s very sparse leaf cover. As quickly as she came, Mrs. Dove leaves. Unsatisfactory home, dear, it simply won’t do…her message is clear to me, but Mr. Dove remains.

Potted Bougainvillea

The next moment he flies up to the pendant lamp hanging just above my head. Oh my! No place to perch there, so he flits down to the railing of the balcony. My heart stops. To what do I owe this blessed visitation? Then to the arm of the chair. Now he is within three feet of my still frozen cup. I watch him and observe the extraordinary feather collar of black with white polka-dots at his neck, the intelligent eye trained on my face, the dove-gray body and shocking pink feet. Oh sweet and beautiful friend! I wish I could help. There are many lovely trees in this garden. Surely one will make a suitable home?

The railing, the arm of the chair, the coffee…

We assess each other for some time then, with several gallant bobs in my direction, he takes his leave. I sit, stunned, unmoving. Coffee, cool now, still has not reached my lips.

Would I have had this enchantment had I not been up at dawn? Had the pigs not been slaughtered and their cries wakened me would I have missed this holy communion? I owe a debt of gratitude to the pigs. I won’t be partaking of their flesh, but this morning they bestowed the gift of a timely awakening so I could keep a sacred appointment with the doves.

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