DRAFT—Still to be edited by my wife Barb.
You’ll need a pair of binoculars to see Cloud Doves and even then they are really hard to see! It’s always best to watch for a slight movement in the clouds just a bit faster than the cloud itself is moving–then quickly focus.
Cloud Doves are well, the size of a dove with all white feathers. They have sky blue beaks with equally sky blue eyes that twinkle when the light hits them just right. Their legs and feet are a light tan color and their feet are webbed, but not like a duck’s foot with a solid web, but more like how a tennis racket’s strings are laced and they are perfect for walking around on clouds. Their creator designed them well.
Walking around on clouds feels to them like it would feel to us walking around on a bunch of big cotton balls. And they are very, very light in weight probably from their feeding habits. While he birds below the clouds are feeding on weighty things like bugs and the larger birds on smaller animals, they fuel up for the day on sunshine!
Right before dawn a typical Cloud Dove family will line up on the edge of the nest, wing to wing making sure they touch each other as they are a close knit family, and always in this order, Poppa dove on the left, then Momma dove, then the young doves. They face east. As the fiery orange sun of the morning dawn crests over the horizon, they all close their eyes, tilt their sky blue beaks up with their heads back and drink in the dawn through their protruding white downy breasts.
Sunshine doesn’t weigh much, so that makes them light. For them the dawn is the best sunshine to fill up on. During the day the sun is much too hot and spicy for most Cloud Doves and the evening sunset is less filling but works well as a bedtime snack especially for the little ones.
They also don’t fly much, in that respect they are more like chickens, they can fly but prefer walking around on the soft clouds. So they don’t have all that extra muscle weight needed for flying around all the time.
You must be wondering what on earth Cloud Doves do with the rest of their day since they don’t have to spend their entire day constantly looking for food. And that’s a good question! For Cloud Doves the answer is simple, they spend their day loving their Creator Father and enjoying Him.
And enjoy they do! Young Cloud Doves love to play Angel-Catch, they find a high cloud with a steep slope and line up one behind the other at the edge of the slope. The leader starts, he walks up as close to the edge as he can without going over the side, pulls his feet up tight to his body causing his lower feathers to rest on the cloud. Then with a wee flap of his wings he tilts over the edge and he’s off!
Down the slope he goes picking up speed, since clouds are not known for being flat, he hits little cloud drifts that bump him up in the air nearly causing him to lose control and direction! With another wee wing flap he corrects his direction and maintains his speeding velocity down the cloud then MU-WAMP he breaks through the bottom cloud tumbling out into the blue sky! Now, he could fly himself back up to the cloud ledge, but he doesn’t and keeps his wings pulled in tight as he hurdles towards the earth. Why take the fun out of the game?
Out of nowhere, one of Creator Father’s angels appear and happily catches the tumbling young Cloud Dove flying him back up to the ledge. In the meantime one after another after another go shooting down the slope hurtling out into the wild blue with angels appearing all over the place each catching a Cloud Dove and flying it back to the ledge! Angel-Catch continues till all the young Cloud Doves are pooped and ready for something new. The Creator Father’s angels, who never get tired, smile their goodbyes and are gone.
Sometimes when a Cloud Dove notices the cloud underfoot is starting to turn gray he’ll start loudly cooing and flapping his wings to alert everyone nearby, then others pick it up to pass along the alert to the other Cloud doves on distant clouds. Three flaps–pause, three flaps–pause, it’s sort of a dove wing Morse Code and everyone races to the top of the highest cloud they can find because they know a thunderstorm is about to start and that means lightening!!
With all the Cloud Doves safely huddled together by family at the tops of clouds, they all watch as the thunder clouds deepen into a foreboding dark gray. Suddenly, a bright bolt of jagged lightning crackles across the sky below them, immediately followed by a loud clap of thunder—causing everyone to jump a bit from the sound.
They all burst into Ooooohs, Ahhhhhs, and Coooos, as they loved watching the lightening! It was their version of cloud fireworks, and they loved watching the display of their Creator’s power and majesty. Everyone lifts their white wings in praise and then settle down for the next blast. The young Cloud doves love watching soft white lightning flashes inside a towering thunderhead because with a little imagination, which the young doves have a lot of, it looks like a giant Cloud Dove with a white beating heart with every flash.
After the thunder and lightning moves on, the families gather up their colorful cloud blankets they had been sitting on and everyone heads back to their home nest.
Cloud Dove nests are much larger than nests for birds their size because it is so easy for them to build with little fluffs of cloud. They are open at the top like most bird nests but they are also divided into rooms. Little bedrooms for the young ones, and master bedroom for the parents, a large family room and of course no kitchen since they feed from the dawn.
Like all birds Cloud Doves molt with their old mature feathers falling out and new ones growing back to replace them. These old feathers are strong and beautiful! The Cloud Doves use them to line the walls of their nests and strengthening the partitioning walls for their rooms.
Typically after the fireworks when the family enters their nest they all gather in the large family room to Coo their prayers to the Great Creator in the name of Jesus, thanking Him for providing for their needs and fun during the day and asking for a safe night’s rest. Pappa Cloud Dove closes and all lift their wings in praise to Father Creator, then there is a round of Coos and kisses, and Momma Cloud Dove follows the young ones into their rooms to tuck them in for the night.
Poppa Cloud Dove, now alone, smiles thinking about what his father told him as a young dove—“The family that Coos together, stays together!” He was so right.
Back in the bedrooms each young Cloud Dove has its own down comforter woven together from their mother’s own down that she had plucked and saved from her molting down feathers. With each young one now snuggly tucked in, Momma Cloud Dove gives them one last round of coos and kisses and joins Poppa Cloud Dove back in the family room.
Since all Cloud Dove nests are located in the tops of the clouds, no clouds come between them and the starry sky at night. The tucked in little ones lay looking up at the shining white stars against the black night sky. The twinkling stars are so beautiful and they all know that Creator Father made them for them so they would have a soft nightlight and not have to lay in their rooms in the dark.
For a typical Cloud Dove family they all line up on the edge of the nest before dawn and drink in the early morning sun for the day and then it’s off to school for the little ones. Since the clouds are always moving, each day class is held on a different cloud. The Cloud Dove mother usually walks them out in front of the nest and they all look around. One of them will spot a neighboring Cloud Dove flapping their wing talking code telling where class will be held. Her children join the other little Cloud Doves in the neighborhood who play and talk on their way to the class cloud.
Poppa Cloud Dove and Momma Cloud Dove return to the nest to tidy up and get ready for their day. Being a typical day, they head over to visit his parents. They alternate visits between her parents and his parents. Since they are much older Cloud Doves they often need a little help beside the nice visiting time.
Grandma Cloud Dove was having an arthritic problem with her beak and couldn’t quite manipulate things like she used to. So her daughter happily went around the nest picking up wall feathers that had fallen over and propping them back up in place pushing the quill down into the cloud to hold them in place, she also fluffed up their very special down comforters given to her mother by her mother who had received them from her mother. They were intricately stitched around the boarder with pictures of doves, clouds, and with feathers shaped like crosses, the symbol of their beloved Creator God Jesus. As she fluffed the comforters, and being an only Cloud Dove, she looked forward to the day when her mother would pass them on to her and her dovey-hubby.
In contrast to Grandma who had aged into a sweet old Grandmotherly Cloud Dove, Grandpa Cloud Dove had become more ornery and unpredictable! One of his favorite things to do was back into someone when they weren’t looking and break wind, then shake his tail feathers like he was rearranging and straightening them. The wind-whacked dove and the others in the near vicinity would all turn and look at Grandpa Cloud Dove with beaks twisted in disgust while he casually wandered off cooing and cackling to himself.
Because he had poor circulation in his legs and was prone to falls, he wasn’t allowed to leave the nest without someone walking with him. It didn’t hurt him falling down on a cloud, the problem was he couldn’t get back up again. Still, sometimes, when no one was looking he would leave the nest with his cane trying to go visit the neighbors. The last time he did that they found him lying on his side with his cane stuck down in the cloud. Apparently the webbed cloud-foot on the bottom of his cane had come off, and when the pointy end of his cane poked through the cloud over he rolled and there he stayed till a neighbor found him.
Another time Grandpa Cloud Dove lost his false-beak which caused his chin to move up between his eyes and made him look really funny. When he was younger he didn’t take time to attend to his beak hygiene and over time, especially as he got older he began to develop weird pits in his beak and eventually it looked so bad that he had it removed and the dentist made him a new beak. It moved his chin down from between his eyes and make him look a lot better!
Every night before bed he would take his beak off, and soak it in a pile of cloud for the night on the night stand by his bed. One morning on the weekend, when the grandkids were sleeping over, they all lined up still half asleep for breakfast on the edge of the nest. After feeding one of the grandkids noticed and yelled, “Ewwww! Grandpa doesn’t have his beak in!!!”
Sure enough, Grandpa Cloud Dove could see his white feathered chin sticking up between his sky blue eyes, still being a bit sleepy he hadn’t even noticed! That sent them all on the hunt to find his lost beak. They looked under the bed, fluffed through the special down comforter, looked behind the wall feathers, and at one point Grandpa Cloud Dove was bent over looking under the couch. Another grand kid standing directly behind him yelled out, “Ewww, Yuck!!” A sky blue beak was peeking out from under his rear tail feathers! How it got there, nobody wanted to know!!
Grandpa Cloud Dove plucked it out and without even wiping it off with a cloud-wipe popped it back into place on his face. Yes, he looked much better, but all the grand kids ran off screaming, “Gross!!!”, and Grandma Cloud Dove just stood there looking at Grandpa Cloud Dove shaking her head.
After caring for their parents they often had time to visit a friend or take a short cloud hike before school let out. This time they decided to hike along a very thin wispy cloud because it gave them the best view of the ground. When the wispy clouds were high in the sky they had a great view of the horizon and could see the surrounding features around them such as mountains, and rivers, and lakes among the brown and green patches of earth.
Since the clouds were always moving, every day was a new view and they never tired of the scenery. When the wispy clouds were low they had a very good view of the hustle and bustle of life on the ground. No matter if they were over a big city or over the open countryside watching the famers in their fields, they always delighted in seeing what their Father Creator had made.
Sensing the time was near for the kids to return to the nest from school, they continued walking along, wing to wing, always enjoying each other’s company and so grateful the Creator Father had brought them together.
In the meantime back at school, the young Cloud Doves all sat paying close attention to Miss Cloud Dove their teacher, whom they all loved! Miss Cloud Dove asked the class, “What is the first and greatest commandment by our Creator Father?” Little Bobby Cloud Dove’s wing shot up. Miss Cloud Dove nodded for him to go ahead.
“To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, and with all our feathers, and with all our coos!” “Very good,” said Miss Cloud Dove. “Now what is the second greatest commandment?” Hannah Cloud Dove’s wing shot up with excitement and blurted out, “And to love your nested-neighbor as yourself.” “Good!” said Miss Cloud Dove and so class continued till school let out for the day.
As life carried on for the Cloud Doves, high up in heaven the Great Creator looked down on the active little Cloud Dove community and thought about their simple trust in His provision, their love for one another, their love for Him and only had one question.
His question was . . .
Do YOU have the heart of a Cloud Dove?
Note: This story came to me during my morning devotions as I watched a bird fly toward some low hanging clouds. The bird seemed to disappear into the cloud.
Copyright © 2017 by William D. (Nick) Nichols
All world rights reserved.