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In These Otsego Hills

February 21, 2013

There's a lot we can learn from the doves

(Continued)

I have no idea what doves think about when they hold these silent meetings. I suspect they value thought. I am sure that there is some sort of intra-species imperative that calls for stillness and silence. Watching them sit so still for so long filled me with envy, as well as a sense of kinship. Having always preferred silence to its alternative, I am convinced that these sitting doves have something to teach us. I have never attended a Quaker meeting, but from what I have read and heard from Quaker friends, their meetings are similar. Anyone who has something to say says it. If not, quiet reigns. It is said that talk it cheap. That it is. In many ways it is too cheap. Spewing speech is easy; contriving thoughtful speech is harder. If, as one poet puts it, “Speech is the dress of thought,” then we ought to put more effort into the crafting of out linguistic wardrobes.

Over the past several days, as I have watched the activity at and in the vicinity of our feeders, I have noticed doves sitting on tree branches close by checking things out. I get the sense that they enjoy perching and quietly taking the world in around them. The only movement I detect is the inevitable slow swivel of the neck if a chickadee or woodpecker happens to land nearby. Their indifference bespeaks of a concern with bigger issues.

It bears mentioning that group behavior while feeding takes a different tone. The plumpest member of the group, a male, seems to feel that the table is set for him, and his buddies should keep their distance until such time that he is sated and ready to alight on a nearby branch to digest his meal. They seem willing to defer to him and find plenty of food nearby to satisfy their appetites. Altercations are brief, to the point, and communal calm is restored immediately.

The serenity displayed by that circle of sitting doves reminded me of what is possible for us. Seems to me if doves can sit quietly when in close proximity to one another we might think about emulating them. Perhaps some quiet circle sitting, maybe while nestled in a warm nest of snow and tempered by silence might just enable us to communicate with one another with less rancor. It is worth a try.

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In These Otsego Hills
  • Visitings with the Widge, Mare Bear This past week we found ourselves enjoying a delightful visit from the Ohio Ellsworths. And while our daughter-in-law Annie had to attend a conference at Hamilton College during part of the visit here, we greatly enjoyed our time with them. We were, of course, quite surprised to realize how much the granddaughters, The Widge and Mare Bear, had grown since we last saw them at Christmas. Obviously, their parents had not put bricks on their heads to retard their growth.

    July 24, 2014

  • Thoughts on traffic and roads We recently enjoyed a brief visit from Jon Battle, one of our late husband's college buddies, who always enjoys visiting Cooperstown and passing howdy on the front porch. And while the front porch is not as welcoming as it used to be since there are no chairs on it, we were able to pass howdy from the comfort of our family room. And during the many subjects that we covered in our conversation, the topic of potholes came up.

    July 17, 2014

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    July 10, 2014

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    July 3, 2014

  • Summer unofficially begins with ice cream Although summer officially arrived this past weekend, we have long thought that the kick off event for the summer season in Cooperstown is the annual Ice Cream Social sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church on Pioneer Street.

    June 26, 2014

  • Splitting logs gives splitting headache We are happy to report that Woodside Hall is continuing with its presentation of programs which are open to the public. This evening at 6:30 p.m., they are hosting Glimmerglass Festival designers Troy Hourie and Erik Teague who will discuss their role in the company's summer production of Strauss' opera, "Ariadne in Naxos: Unplugged."

    June 19, 2014

  • Summer right for driving in the streets We have realized, having consulted our trusty calendar, that next Sunday is Father's Day. And thus this past weekend we were online looking for an appropriate printable Father's Day greeting card which we might send to the wee-we. Since we have been somewhat housebound this year, we have discovered the convenience of printable holiday cards. We used them rather successfully, we thought, when we sent them to the granddaughters for both Valentine's Day and Easter.

    June 12, 2014

  • June musings XXXXXXXX Difficult as it is to believe, it seems we have made it to June which always seems to be a fairly busy month. And this year is no different. In fact when we turned to our calendar to June we were stunned. We always hope to find we are entering a month in which we have little, if anything, planned. But when we turned to June, we quickly realized we were faced immediately with three meeting as well as four follow-up appointments with four different doctors at Bassett. And much as we would have liked to simply move right on to July, we decided that was really not an option. So we are plowing ahead with June.

    June 5, 2014

  • Presidential reading replaces viewing ince we knew we were not in a position to take in any of the festivities surrounding the president's recent visit to the Hall of Fame, we decided we needed to celebrate in another way. And, as luck would have it, we are currently reading the recently released biography, "James Madison: A Life Reconsidered." What better way, we thought, to mark the current president's visit by reading about a former president's life. It seemed perfect. Besides, it gave us a reason to spend the day with our nose in a book.

    May 29, 2014

  • Best not to push luck on spring This week we note that the Literary Discussion Group meeting, originally scheduled for today, May 22, has been postponed until Thursday, May 29 at 2:30 p.m. in the Village of Cooperstown Library. William Shakespeare's "The Taming of the Shrew" will be the topic of discussion at the rescheduled meeting.

    May 22, 2014