The Nest on the Orange Tree
A soft breeze was caressing the lush bright green leaves of the blossoming flowery orange trees. The whole place was drowned in sunshine and bliss. The incessant twittering of birds and the buzzing of the nectar-sucking busy bees elevated the place to the ranks of heaven on earth.
There I stood, contemplating a nest, merely few twigs and two little nestlings, two baby doves, looking so frail and innocent and huddling like a pair of small brown hairy shoes, beaks pointing from their heads, drawn between their wings. Their gullets bulging out like inflated balloons. My heart was pounding and my hands showed I was so excited.
Seeing they were undisturbed by my presence, I moved a step closer to the tree, then closer, driven by a child-like curiosity. Meanwhile, I was taking snaps with my camera. Many of them…There came a time when I was much too close, so close that the two of them instantaneously raised their wings threateningly to tell me that I needed to back off; that I’d gone too far in infringing their privacy.
Obstinate as I was, I did take a few more snaps to immortalize a moment so rare and precious. How many times did it happen to me to come so close to such frail, yet daring creatures? How many times would such creatures have the opportunity to get shot by a camera before being shot by a greedy and blood-thirsty hunter, or before falling prey to a hungry merciless predator?
Eventually, I backed off. Enough intrusion in their territory! Now, the whole place is theirs again. I eclipsed myself and left them in the care of their dedicated parents, who were so elusive to allow themselves to be seen by anyone. Still, from their threatening and sporadic noisy warnings, I was aware they were watching me.
Two days later, I came back to see them. Although it was mid-April, it was unusually hot and dry and it seemed that life took advantage of this to boom further and further. Creatures, from the tiniest insects to birds and reptiles, were displaying their beauty and responding joyfully to the eternal call for life. Light from the dazzling sun flooded the place. I stealthily moved close to the orange tree, the home of my two baby doves, once more intruding in their territory. For them, I must have been the most loathed and most unwelcome two-legged creature on earth.
My baby doves were no longer just baby doves. It was amazing how quickly they grew! One of them was already adult-looking, with wings that looked whole and fit for flying. To my amazement, it showed such boldness that it had left the parental nest and was already perched on a branch about a meter away!
Was it getting ready for something? Was it just exploring the environment? Was it going to embark on an adventure? Perhaps it was responding to the call from within, pushed by its instincts to savor independence and have a taste of freedom. Perhaps this was the time for it to show that it was fully grown, that it was no less a match for its parents. I got closer… and closer again.
If two days before my baby doves had raised their wings in warning and dissuasion, now the situation was different, totally different. One, the bolder of the two, the one perched on a branch away from the nest, was no longer taking a defensive position. A few more inches closer and I did cross the buffer zone! My dove beat its wings and hit the skies, shooting like a bullet. I gasped. The moment slipped off by me and left me open-mouthed.
The nest was now home to one dove, solitary and defenseless, yet standing its ground in defiance. I felt very sorry that the bolder dove took to the air without perhaps being mature enough and even sorrier that the remaining dove had been left with no support. But nature has its own reasons for making things happen that way. I took a snap and withdrew, feeling guilty of disturbing the life of these wonderful creatures. They must have known I was doing it out of wonder and out of love. I wasn’t chasing them. I wanted other people to appreciate a close look at them and hopefully show more care and concern for nature.
My dove took to the air and God knows where it had ended. Hurriedly, I left. Back home, I contemplated the snaps and the scene was live and fresh in my mind again. I was totally swallowed in awe. Doves and other animals, all have babies and they grow. Then, a time must come when they take their own way and face life. Their instinct is to survive against all odds until the odds beat them. The incessant circle of life…
The next day, I took my bicycle, camera in my bag, and pedaled my way to the countryside, to that orange tree where the nest was. I was hopeful I could still find the other dove; I say dove because it must have grown stronger and bigger, and perhaps it was there, perched on a branch, like its brother or sister, waiting for the ticking minutes of its maiden flight, its voyage to the unknown.
I was met with the buzzing bees and a harmonious mix of bird twitters, tunes and melodies played so artfully to silence the best harpist. I was there, standing by the orange tree, the flowery and blossoming orange tree, the home garden of my two doves. A quick glimpse at the nest told me everything. On a branch, on an orange tree, there was a nest, a few twigs, no more, as if laid hurriedly. The nest, the once warm home of two baby doves, where they had grown to full strength, nurtured and cared for by two devoted parents, was now empty. I was there, physically, but my mind stretched out in the blue sky above, wondering what my two doves might be doing, wondering where they could be… My two doves!
Completed on April 25, 2014