Mourning Dove: Finding Peace Within

Last week when I was walking my dog, this beautiful feather seemingly floated down from nowhere in front of me. I picked it up and wondered at the polka- dotted feather and how lucky I was to find such a treasure! I also wondered what bird would have a father with such a large circle dot on it. My first inclination was to think of the Mourning Dove.

When I was doing my 100 days of birds, the mourning dove was the second bird I painted. One of the many gifts that came from my 100 days of painting birds is that I am able to visually identify birds in my area much more easily now. I recognized that shape and color from when I painted the Mourning Dove.

When you paint or draw something from observation, you are sitting with that object or being and really being with it. It’s like having one of those intense conversations you have with a person, after which that person is no longer a stranger. There is an intimacy to drawing an object/being. I think it must lie in that act of being still and present. Observation being the bridge between the moving hand and the mind.

Well, I double checked on The Feather Atlas and my hunch that it was a feather from a Mourning Dove was correct!

Finding that feather inspired me to return to the gouache painting I had done of the Mourning Dove and create a mixed media piece from it. Mourning Doves are one of my favorite birds. They are not fancy birds and they are actually a little awkward looking, but I love them! I think it stems from childhood and hearing their cooing coming from the chimney tops of our house. I find them very comforting.

Bridgette Guerzon Mills | Finding Peace Within, gouache, encaustic, cloth on panel, 5×7 inches
framed and available at Terre Arts

I looked up their meaning and saw what makes sense intuitively- that they symbolize peacefulness and gentleness. But I also read this: “Dove meaning could also be letting you know that you need to stop and take a few deep breaths. Therefore you must let go of the turmoil that is currently surrounding you and take the time to find peace within you. Hence, what you see right now is your reality shifting in ways you never thought possible and that what you are indeed looking for is just around the corner. The most chaos happens just before your dreams come true.” I’m hoping that this is what the falling feather was telling me because that would be great.

Or it could just mean that the dove that sits on the wire above the street moved and a father came loose. But I’m going to hope that means good things are coming around the corner.


  1. Funny that i stumble upon your writing about a dove at this moment. I have recently bought a house in a town a long way from where i used to live, and i seem to have two doves (australian native doves) resident in my garden. They also remind me of childhood, and other journeys for which the sound of cooing is a reminder. Likewise i hope that the meaning ascribed to doves comes true for you. Thank you for this little philosophical aside.

    1. So glad that you stumbled upon my blog and that it was a message that you might have needed to hear too! I hope you settle comfortably into your new home and town. Moving towns, let alone homes, is definitely chaos inducing!

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