||[Feb. 20th, 2009|11:24 am]
Doves? pigeons? Is there a difference? I've never been sure. Anyway, I love the sound they make. It's something between a croon and a hoot and it means that spring is on its way. I hear it- as I heard it first thing this morning- and I'm immediately 17 years old. Not that I want to be 17 - too much fear and uncertainty- but there's a certain blank-canvasy hopefulness about being 17 that never comes again- except insofar as you can capture it in memory. Doves/pigeons do it for me every time. It's 1968, I'm walking along a path beside the Lac de Neuchatel, the sun is shining, and I'm in love- have been for a couple of days and will be for a couple of days more- with Anne Cronk, the Canadian girl. |
Tennyson- who was a whiz at onomatopoeia- got the effect of dove-song in the line that goes, "The moan of doves in immemorial elms". Only for him it's a melancholy noise, whereas for me it's the soundtrack of love's young dream.
Scientifically speaking, a pigeon is a kind of dove; they used to call them "rock doves" in the bird guides, now they call them "rock pigeons". Pigeons like tall city buildings because their natural habitat is cliffs, which leads me to the conclusion that when the writer of the Song of Songs wrote, "O my dove in the clefts of the rock, let me hear your voice," it might well have been a pigeon that he (or she) was thinking of.
I like to say a pigeon is just a dove with bad PR. I am fond of both the rock pigeon and our local dove, the mourning dove, who not only has a beautiful call but a beautiful scientific name: Zenaida macroura.
If pigeons were rare we'd be oohing and aahing about how beautiful they are- with their soft grey plumage and lovely croon.
Macroura- now there's more onomatapoeia! It's as if the birds were speaking their own name.
2009-02-20 05:04 pm (UTC)