Column: Mourning dove


Mourning doves live in most of North America.

Sascha Harvey

With the approach of summer comes the cries of mourning doves each dawn.

A lot of people might say that they’re named after the time of day. Actually, they’re named after their sad, mournful song. Whatever the case, they’re a welcome sound. With them comes the feelings of summer: aloe vera on sunburns, freckled hands, chlorine, the smell of old books. 

I have a feeling that this summer will be different from the previous ones. My last real summer as a kid, or maybe my first real summer as an adult. I have a job, a car, plans for college. I don’t know if I’ll be able to live this summer like my last one, playing video games with my sister and riding my bike barefoot. 

Things have changed now. I’m a grown-up now, or close to one, as my mom likes to cry about. I drive myself to my haircuts and have a paycheck and will probably have to figure out how to do taxes. I can’t lay in bed anymore and listen to bird songs because I’ll have other things to do, like eating quinoa and watching Law & Order or whatever adults do.

I wish I would’ve appreciated things more last year. Doesn’t everyone? 

Maybe I would’ve played Minecraft with my baby brother a bit more. His version of playing is asking me to build things for him (a giant hamburger, a huge castle) for hours on end. Though it’s not much fun for me, it’s always worth it for the few minutes before he asks for me to build something else. 

Maybe I would’ve decided to cuddle with the cat more, even if it makes my nose stuffy. Her name is Eleanor, and she’s a small gray tabby. She’s needy and affectionate and I’m incredibly allergic to her. 

I wish I would’ve slowed down instead of trying to fast forward through everything. I spent most of my time wishing it would be over soon. Waiting to get a job, to start driving, to start school again. And now, here I am, wishing I could go back to eating Taco Bell and picking stupid fights with my brother. 

I’m sure this summer will pass, and it will have wonderful parts and terrible parts. By July I’ll be wishing it was over, and then by December I’ll be missing the sounds of mourning birds. 

Now that I’m older I miss being twelve years old with scraped knees and popsicles, and when I was younger I wanted to be older and drive around with the windows down. 

And now I’m listening to some crappy indie band with my car windows down and I have scrapes on my knees at this weird in between point in my life. 

I don’t know what I want. I want to be a kid and I want to be an adult. More than anything though, I wish things would slow down just a bit. 

By this summer, the birds will still be there, my siblings will still be there. But I’ll be different: I’ll make sure to appreciate things more this time around.