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November 6, 1985

The days of autumn are upon us, O Lord. Gone is the scorching heat of summer, a new vigor fills the air.

In the garden fall flowers show off in sparkling colors, fat green lemons begin to ripen into yellow, as fresh new blossoms in creamy white burst forth, and trees shed their leaves to make way for spring renewal.

Overhead birds on-the-wing swoop down to rest on high wires or to snatch a red berry from the pyracantha bush.

And for us, an exciting holiday season approaches.

This is indeed a lovely time of the year, O Lord, and we offer up a pray of gratitude that we are here to be part of it.

This invocation was written exactly 32 years ago. At the time, my grandmother lived in sunny Burbank, CA. No doubt, the meyer lemons that grew outside her bedroom were just starting to ripen, and the pyracantha on the trellis by the front door was abundant with red berries, a relished food for robins, sparrows, blue jays, and other neighborhood birds.

While it isn’t cold enough in Southern California to produce spectacular fall leaves, various trees shed their leaves, and the grass grew greener after the hot summer.Matt Lewis photography from UnSplash

It’s much different in northern Washington, where most of the fall leaves have already blown away, the first snow arrived a few days ago, and temperatures are now in the low 40’s.

What’s similar is the birds.

They’re madly eating whatever is available, and in my case, the bird seed on the covered portion of our deck. Unfortunately, this presents opportunities for predatory birds to swoop in and grab breakfast (or lunch or dinner). Such as the case this morning when I heard a loud thunk, and rushed to the kitchen window to see dove feathers strewn across the deck.

I went outside, hoping a dove simply flew into the window and was dazzled. But the variety of feathers – pale gray down, darker gray body feather, and long elegant, multi-colored wing feathers – told a different story.

I was devastated. Crying. Trying to sort out whether I was doing good by feeding the many visiting birds or simply making it easier for predators like hawks and falcons to find a quick meal. Then I reasoned the predators have just as much right to live as the smaller birds.

While I’m grateful for the changing weather, and start of the holiday season, I’m disheartened a dove got brutally murdered on our deck.

Thanks to Matt Lewis and his wonderful photo from UnSplash