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Why Do the Pigeons Play?

by Dr David, Editor / Publisher

This morning, the anniversary of my father's death, just before waking, I dreamed, of feeling guilty that I had not been able to financially assist him. Consciousness clicking into place, I realized, "That's not true." I did give my father money, as he supported me whenever I needed it. I feel guilty about a lot of things, but being a good son isn't one of them.

Comforting myself, getting out of bed, I worked for an hour then went up to my roof to do my yoga session. My place shares the high ground with the Church of San Antonio. From my third-floor perch there are great views in all directions. Also there a lot of pigeons roosting on the near, shady side of the church's dome. Regularly, en masse they take flight, up to half a hundred of them, flocking madly overhead, circling round and around the dome, just a stone's throw.

It doesn't compete with the murmuration of the cow birds up at the Landeta, but these fewer and less agile fliers performing around the church do put on a show... and it's a show that I don't have to leave home to see it.

Every now and then their gyration gets wide enough so that they fly right over me. I can only try to convey the experience of having 50 frantic flappers passing just 15 feet overhead, the sound effects, swoosh and flaps, the bodies and wings in light and shadow. Pigeons are not elegant birds, not on the ground nor on wing, but collectively, in flock, they are beautiful, like pudgy kids performing an acrobatic routine.

Plato's metaphor compares us to cave-dwellers, mistaking the flickering shadows thrown by firelight onto the wall for life itself. Our minds are blown when we venture out of the cave into the fullness of existence. My metaphor compares me to someone looking at photographs, snapshots of life instead of seeing life itself.

Which brings me back to my dream of my father. In it I was unfairly hard on myself. In waking reality I am also hard on myself. My concepts of myself prevent me from seeing myself. I'm staring at photos of the sunset instead of looking at the sunset itself.

But lately my search is leading me back to myself. Less and less is it about searching. More and more it is about finding.

I sit up on my roof, staring up into the wild blue yonder, wondering what makes those pigeons fly so, their white underwings flashing with every stroke. Obviously they like to cooperate, to feel themselves a flock: there is something beautiful in unity. Then, they are celebrating, playing.

Kirpal Singh said, "If you knew how much God loves you, you'd be dancing in the streets." Maybe the pigeons know?


Dr David has created Lokkal, a social network that is not commercially-driven (just being launched starting here in San Miguel) as an alternative to the abuses of social media.

"Whether it is to be utopia or oblivion will be a touch and go relay race right up to the final moments." - Buckminster Fuller

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copyright 2022