Recovering The SelfA Journal of Hope and Healing


‘Call of the Dove’ – A Journal Entry

by Lynda McKinney Lambert

July 13, 1991 – Salzburg, Austria

My thoughts are focused today. I intend to do as much as possible before the day ends. I have only one more week, and my time here will end.

I feel anxious now because I am thinking about how long it took me to get here—forty-eight years of dreaming. My one secret desire was to go to Europe to paint pictures and write. On Saturday, 30 June, the dream became real when I arrived in Salzburg at 8:30 am. Now, as I stand on the pathway that takes me to the bridge across the Salzach River, it feels like I have always lived here.

From the first moments when I walked around in the city, I felt at home. Even though I don’t know anyone and I don’t speak German, I feel like I belong in this city. I seem to have a connection to this place.

I came to Austria three weeks ago. I am a student in a drawing course taught by a former professor, who invited me to join her class for a month of travel and studies. I jumped at this opportunity.

This morning I begin my final week in Salzburg. I am determined to do everything I can squeeze into this last week before I have to return back home.

I meandered through the Old Town’s medieval streets and stopped to look for gifts to take home for family members. My Aunt Bettie wants a pair of Swarovski earrings. I found some in a gift shop and decided that would be an excellent gift for all the family women. I selected different colors for each of them.

Earrings would be easy to take back home. I am really conscious of how much room I have in my suitcase now that I have traveled here and managed the two large bags I brought. I made a note in my journal – if I ever get to travel like this again, I promise myself to never bring so much baggage in the future.

I decided to walk down the street to Mirabell Palace and Garden. I heard that sometimes you can see a wedding at the palace if you happen to be there on a Saturday morning. If you get there in time, you will see a white coach and white horses for the bridal couple.

There is always the sound of a calling dove. I heard it yesterday morning at 7:45. I heard it during the day, and I heard it after dark.

“Come and see. Come and see. Come and see.”

Over this lusty and deep call, I hear a twittering of swallows and more high-pitched sounds of smaller birds.

When I walked through Mirabell Garden, the scent of roses permeated the air. Roses are everywhere, it seems. I see them in Gardens, arched over iron gates, spilling over walls, and reaching over streets and sidewalks. I find them in lush, carefully manicured gardens of castles and estates. Austria and roses are synonymous, I think.

Today, I must get some more postcards because I think of several people who would like to receive one.

When I arrived at Mirabell Gardens today, I looked over the formal gardens of blooming flowers and saw people dressed in festive clothing. They were gathering by the Pegasus fountain. I did not want to attract attention, and I thought about how I could possibly see the wedding couple when they came out to get into the carriage. I decided to go inside the palace and up the second floor on the marble stairway.  I sat up on one of the tall window sills and got out my sketchbook to draw. It would appear that I was just an artist who was sketching. I would not attract any suspicious attention from the people who might pass by in the spacious hallway. From my perch, I observed the guests below. They were bringing bouquets of flowers and wrapped gifts for the bridal couple. This was such a delightful sight to see, and I felt so privileged to be there to see it happening in the gardens below my window seat.

I saw a lively little dog that I never saw before coming to Austria. It was an Alpine Dachsbracke, a very sturdy dog but long-bodied with short, strong legs. I learned that Austria is the country of origin for this unique little doggie.

The deep reddish-brown dog with fuzzy ears and tail ran in circles in the courtyard.

Someone had tied a fluffy white bow around the little dog’s neck, and I thought about how wonderful it is to see how the Austrians treat their dogs as part of the family.

I see the families with their dogs everywhere I go on buses, in the restaurants and beer gardens, and even now, at a formal wedding in Mirabell Gardens.

Mirabell gardens, Salzburg

Mirabell Gardens, Salzburg

My patience paid off, and it was not long before the bells began to ring out the announcement. A bridal couple emerged from the palace to greet the people waiting in the courtyard. The dazzling white coach and elegant white horses arrived with a flourish of noise over the cobblestone pavement, just as I had hoped they would.  I was a witness to the fairy-tale wedding.

Today is the 195th day in the Gregorian calendar. I took a deep breath and thought for a moment about what will happen after today. There will be 171 more days before this year comes to an end. I wonder, will life ever bring me back to this city again?

I turned back towards the Salzach River and began to walk in the bridge’s direction towards home. I heard the hidden dove again. It was singing from the shadows of a low-hanging branch of the willow tree along the path: “Come and see. Come and see. Come and see.”

About the Author

Lynda McKinney Lambert writes spare poems and thoughtful, personal essays. She is inspired by imagery and nuances from nature. Landscape and art in her writings. She is a retired professor of fine art and humanities (Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA). Lynda taught a month-long Drawing and Writing course in Salzburg, Austria, each summer. She kept daily journals, and in 2002, her first book, Concerti: Psalms for the Pilgrimage, was published by Kota Press. During the nineteen years after publishing this book, she published an additional four books. Lynda’s mission statement in her own words…

  • Seeking Euphoria – through art and writing.
  • I reveal what is forgotten, lost or invisible.

Visit Lynda’s website

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