When I sat to drink my tea, the sound tore at my heart. You know the coo-coo pigeons make, rather like doves. But now, the first note resembled keening. Deep, 'Wwwwooo', followed by the normal high 'coo'.
In June, she'd made her nest high in the 7 ft. bush, flying back and forth across the road to the forest opposite in suicide missions with worthy material in her beak. Later in the month, I didn't see her and feared the worst. However, my upstairs neighbor checked the nest and found two abandoned eggs. He'd seen her making a fresh nest in the apple tree at the back. Both relieved, we went our separate ways.
Last week, a blackbird hung around in that tree and I feared for her and any possible chicks. Predators abound in nature and silly humans transfer their own feelings to birds and animals.
And yet, maybe birds morn, just the way we do, for their lost young.
But what's the alternative in modern society? Birth babies at home and take the chance of them not surviving? Send them to hospital if they are in danger? Then, the risk is just as great. Or more so.
Here's a short excerpt from my fourth co-written novel in the futuristic Higher Ground series,
Long Doom Calling. (Long Doom being old London.) Eighteen-year-old Cerridwen and her companions are held captive in the crumbling ruins of an old mansion. In the unclean city where water is scarce, the healer brings clothing washed in a stream, which could mean life or death after a birth. She creeps along the hall at the sound of a woman's scream. This short scene comes after Cerridwen calms the woman's terror.
Inside the hot room with three other women, Cerridwen urged, "One more push." Holding a clean cloth, she reached between the mother's legs. "That's it. I can see a little downy head. Push."
The baby emerged, waving her arms through the air as if pulling life towards her. Cerridwen caught the slippery bundle. "There you are, little beauty." She glanced into the mother's anxious face. "It's a girl."
The bedraggled woman, her tan aura strengthening with each breath, reached for her child. "Oh, you're beautiful." She nestled the baby to her breast. "Hannibal will be so proud. The first baby born under his rule."
Cerridwen smiled. No need to tell the poor woman about Kardo taking over. Let her enjoy this triumph while she could.
The mother leaned close.
The women helped her to sit. She swaddled the baby in her arm and touched her tiny head with one finger. "A miracle."
"Birth is a miracle."
"We can take care of the rest." One woman clipped the navel cord.
Cerridwen stepped away. "May the Highest keep watch over your little one all the days of her life."
But back to the original scenario. Do you think birds mourn their young?