Every now and then I enjoy a late Monday afternoon walk around the block with Terri. We’ve been friends for 36 years and have shared the same neighborhood for 30 of those years. Our friendship has blessed us with many gifts, among them, that we both knew and shared time with our respective Moms before they no longer physically walked among us.

Terri’s mom, Joanie, had lived a few houses west of Terri and about a couple long blocks from us. Joanie’s place had been Terri’s childhood home. I enjoyed many a conversation with her mom over the years when I would stop by to “gift” her homemade bread on special occasions or daffodils in the Spring, just “because”. When my folks, Glenn and Ida, came to town for a visit, and later when it was just Mom, Terri would make it a point to stop by and share quality time – sometimes with a gift in tow, just “because”. One year, she drove the length of the state to spend several days with Mom at my childhood home in the Sierras.

Our Mom’s personalities had some similarities. They spoke their mind without guile or subterfuge, and were strong and independent women whose strength of character and idiosyncratic behavior reflected an energy that seemed indomitable.

Our “walkabouts” gift Terri and I time to share our activities of the past week, take note of the flora and fauna which delight our senses and tickle our fancies, reminisce how the neighborhood has changed over nearly three decades and as most generally happens, exchange thoughts and stories about our moms. There are times, for whatever personal reasons Terri or I are unable to meet. We have neither strings nor expectations with respect to our special time together, but there is an unspoken commitment that we strive to honor this time of sharing. One such recent “walkabout” truly was a gift of “connection”.

This particular Autumn Monday culminated a week/weekend where we both had been pulled in different directions – physically and emotionally. As the day dawned, I emailed that I wasn’t quite sure I could make the date happen. Terri’s response was supportive and ended with “there will be other Monday’s to enjoy our walk”. As the afternoon began to wane, so did my mental focus. I found myself staring blankly at the computer monitor; thoughts drifting towards the physical, mental and spiritual “jump start” a good walk would yield. I phoned Terri and stated that I would appreciate a walkabout. By “luck”, “coincidence” or reflecting the adage “things happen for a reason” Terri hadn’t made other plans.

On a “whim”, or so we thought at the time, we deviated from our normal route, and chose to walk down the street that ended on the corner where Joanie’s house stood. As we strolled along, nearing Terri’s childhood home, our discussion abruptly halted as a flutter of wings grew louder and louder overhead. We stopped as our gaze followed the sound. A dove was “hyper” hovering -rather showy like- just above a telephone pole as we passed under it. The dove began to “speak” – not the typical “coo” but a very emphatic, loud, scratchy caw, which they do on occasion.

The aerial display and continued verbosity completely intrigued us. Initially we assumed it was speaking to a second dove that was also perched on the pole. But as the first dove continued to hover, beat its wings and caw, the second dove flew from the telephone pole directly onto the branch of a tree just in front and to the left of us. Then, within seconds, it quickly took flight to rest upon the roof of a home across the street from the tree. We looked back at the “talkative” dove, which returned our gaze with fixed intensity. If eye contact could convey words, it felt as if it were saying, “keep watching!” and then it flew from the telephone pole to the ground just under the foliage where the second dove had briefly perched. There on the ground next to where it landed was a third dove, which we had not noticed before. I pointed to the third dove and exclaimed “Look Terri, a trinity!!” spreading my hands outward to encompass this scene before us of three doves, who by flight pattern and voice seemed intent on holding our attention.

Terri nodded her head appreciatively and smiled. She mentioned an episode on Oprah whereby Oprah makes reference to angels with regards to a dear friend’s transition – or “passing”. Terri then asked me if I knew which angels comprised her “trinity”. I replied I didn’t. She shared that her “trinity” was my mom, her mom, and a neighbor, that she cared for until this dear lady transitioned. Glancing at me briefly, Terri faced the feathered trio and said their names aloud – Ida, Joanie and Mrs. “P” respectively. No sooner had she finished the last of their names then all three doves simultaneously took flight landing on the telephone pole high above our heads. As “one” the three gazed down – each making direct eye contact with us both.

Terri and I looked at one another in astonishment! Gazing back up at the doves, Terri repeated the names of her trinity, but this time she phrased it as a question. Ida? Joanie? Mrs. P? Her smile broadened as she finished the last name. I chuckled and said “No….. but they are indeed messengers!” Terri looked back at me and nodded in agreement.

I don’t question the how and why when gifted “connection”. From childhood, Mom always shared that the “veil” between worlds or layers of the Unseen is always thin. The challenge is to be mindful, to be perceptive and receptive to this orchestration of connection – whether it be from those who have transitioned, our Helpers/Guides/Angels or Higher Power.

I was “pulled” that Monday to join Terri for a stroll. The decision to tread a different path, one that led us by Joanie’s house was not spontaneous, but carefully choreographed. Likewise, was our encounter with the trio of doves, feathered emissaries manifesting the magical, mystical and sacred trinity, which gifted a very dear friend and I a brief embrace and comforting message of Love and Light from those that we can no longer physically see or touch.

Post Script:

In many cultures, birds are considered the messengers between heaven and earth, three is considered a “perfect” number, the number of the cosmos or sacred. Aside from religious symbolism, the trinity or triad has universal associations- such as - “past, present, future”; “goals, dreams, visions”; “birth, life, death/re-birth”; “body, mind, spirit”; “earth, man, heaven”.