January 21, 2012 8:14:00 PM
The name Columbus never meant much to me, apart from being the place where I grew up. I assumed it was named for Christopher Columbus, who sailed the ocean blue in 1492.
Last night we were looking at a phone that gives the positions and names of all the stars and heavenly bodies in whichever part of the sky you point it. I noticed that not far from the Little Dog was another constellation called Columba, the Dove. Curiously similar to the name of our very own town.
Indeed, it turns out that columba is the Latin word for dove. The dove, the bringer of the olive branch, symbol of a new world, new life, new hope. The dove also symbolizes the spirit of life, triumphant over all forms of death.
Columbus (the dove) crossed the big water in search of new lands, and Noah, adrift in a worldwide ocean, sent out a dove for a sign of new land. It is as though the water is the washing of the old world or old way and the dove is the sign of life and vision renewed, reborn. A baptism, if you will.
Curiouser and curiouser... it seems the name Jonah, who was nearly lost at sea but was swallowed by a fish and then spat upon new land, comes from the Hebrew word meaning dove.