Chasing Doves

The little one legged pidgin, known by some as the city’s peace dove, was hobbling along coming toward me as I was reaching into the bread sack on my scooter ready to feed her. Out of the blue came this nasty little child running, kicking, screaming toward the dove yelling, “Argg, I will get you!” His little gun finger was extended. He had a warlike look of hate on his face. The small bird was able to fly just over the basket of my buggy. I turned to the boy and said in a loud, but steady, voice, “Don’t chase the birds! Be kind.”

I feed the birds every day. I see these aggressive little people, ages anywhere from 3 to 12 years old, conducting themselves this way every day. As a retired teacher that taught gang kids in juvy, I wonder what are the parents teaching these kids, where are they? When did it get to be OK to kick these peaceful doves? I read the papers, surf the web, and see that the nation has done well to produce dove kickers. I see the connection between the aggression here at the Square and that seen in the battlefields of war. Far fetched” Maybe. Maybe not.

How does a child 3 years old get so war-like? We humans seem to be hardwired to be warriors and angels all at the same time. Confusing isn’t it? The other day there was a young woman walking her dog in the park. The dog was on a leash but while I was feeding the doves (about 12 of them) she came running into the middle of the flock, dog pulling her forward, encouraging him to attack. I was so angry. I ask her what was she thinking. She said the dog liked to chase birds. She also pointed out it was fun and after all the dog was on a leash. She walked away phone to ear when it rang. There did not seem to be any  thought of her actions. She will probably be a mother some day.

Am I making a big deal out of pidgins in the park? Am I just an old lady in a scooter that feeds birds as recreation? Why get all that excited about it? Well, because it happens on a daily basis, the behavior is more and more aggressive, the people that chase, harass, scream at peaceful little birds are screaming a message to the world about a lot more than pidgins. Anger and fear pour out of them as they come running toward me on their way to the birds. I can feel it. I see it. I hear it, and hate what it represents.

We are still at war with each other on many levels as a human race. Peaceful marchers get pepper sprayed by aggressive cops. The meek seem to get foreclosure rather than support from the greedy banking system. Gang violence is escalating and the gang members are younger and younger. Could it be I am witnessing the next wave of  warriors as I feed my beautiful peace doves in the park?  Something to consider don’t you think?



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Grace E. Reed

I have a MA in Conflict Resolution, a BA in Drama Therapy am a mediator, published writer (Negotiating Shadows and Needs) a broadcaster for radio on disability awareness. I work with street youth, the homeless, addicted people, and have been a social activist for over 35 years. Occupy WS Portland, Oregon is a passion. Eagles World Studio is up and running. My heart responds to poetry and my head hears it in everything I do. My motto is 'stay curious, be kind and keep moving'. My new book 'Negotiating Shadows: Journey to the Sun' published by George Ronald Publisher, Oxford England and available through my website.

  1. Hi Grace,

    An inspiring and heart-warming article! The following line stands out for me: “the people that chase, harass, scream at peaceful little birds are screaming a message to the world about a lot more than pidgins”. Yes, indeed. On the same hand, what I liked about your article is the balance between what you saw, which was annoying and full of anger, and how you interpreted it.

    I like a lot of peaceful interpretation in this article along with the understanding of anger and hatred. And it is this peaceful reflection as well as interpretation that stands out the most for me.

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