At her house, her husband’s and son’s house now, we met this afternoon to celebrate the life and spirit of a friend whose body had failed. She died half a year ago, suddenly and too soon.

      Julia released four white doves, three from the large basket then, a moment after, a single bird. They shot towards the ridge behind us, whiter than any real creature could be, swooped down over the valley below, the one dove cutting across, almost colliding, synching with the flock. They circled all four once more before passing beyond the ridge and our view. The three horses in the high pasture let go their trance: they had frozen, heads up, lined up, in perfect profile, at the first shudder of the wings of the freed birds.

DOVE1, borrowed image.

Impossibly white.


They will get home, twenty-one air miles, Julia said, long before she will. We had sung a song, cheerily dark, read and recited poems, holding close in memory, at the same time letting go of Dory’s spirit. The Royal Black Cherry settled into its hole with help from a hundred hands. Inside, the feast was waiting.

Live long, Dory Brown, in the hearts of family and friends, in the aggregated recollection of all your intersecting communities.