An Ode to the egg that did not hatch

About ten months ago, I noticed the first piece of dry grass placed just outside my bathroom window. Within the next couple of weeks, a beautiful nest had been created. Of course, the designer was a dove looking to lay some eggs. My family and I were fascinated by the prospects of witnessing emerging life so up close. We returned one evening to find the first egg. At nightfall, the dove flew and perched on the egg. I warned those going to have their bath to do it gingerly so as not to ‘harass’ the would-be mother dove with splashing water. Though this instruction was more relevant in the morning hours because the mother dove would just not leave the side of its egg at night. In the morning, at the slightest sound from inside the bathroom, it flew away. Of course, it only saw inside the bathroom when we turned on the light and it could see through the mosquito net on the window.

After about two weeks, we returned in the evening to find that another egg had been added to the nest. Our fascination increased. This was going to be real fun. I began to watch for when the mother dove would perch on the second egg because every time I sneaked to watch; it was perching on the first egg. But it never happened under my watch. Maybe, it perched on it when the children had gone to school and my wife and I to work. Nobody could tell. Yet we maintained our close observation of the emerging spectacle until the first egg hatched!

Unfortunately, there was nobody at home when it happened. It was so little. One unmoving, completely unfeathered, blind and pink-looking creature. At first, we thought it was dead. I blew some air through the net to be sure it was alive and was rewarded with the faintest of movements. I told my children it was alive. I waited to see its mother fly down to feed it but saw none of that. I was also hoping that when it returned, it would perch on the other egg now that the first one had hatched. But when I returned to watch it at night, it was perched somewhat on the little dove. Again, I assured myself that it gave attention to the other egg when nobody was in the house!

Our wonder as to how the mother dove fed its blind little baby was rewarded one Saturday morning when it perched in the nest and began to drop bits of food into the mouth of the blind baby. How the blind baby dove knew where its mother’s mouth was increased our awe. Now, we knew the little dove was not being starved but what about the other egg. Would we see evidence that the mother dove was fulfilling its perching obligation to it or not?

Regrettably, we were not gifted with that moment. Perhaps, the mother dove was satisfied with the rapid growth and development of the baby dove. In a matter of days, it had grown from the once little, unmoving, completely unfeathered, blind and pink-looking creature, to a beautiful dove, almost as big as its mother. Oh, we loved to see it so big. We knew it was a matter of days and it will fly away. So, we turned our attention to the other egg. Why was it taking so long for it to hatch? It was only a few days after the mother dove delivered the container housing its sibling into this world that it hatched and days later was big enough, fully feathered and ready to take its first flight. Why was this taking so long? After waiting for weeks, which turned into months, we stopped talking about it in the house. But I would always look at the lone egg every time I look through the bathroom window.

The mother never returned. Neither its sibling! It was left there all alone. Does anybody know why?

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