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Monday, August 2, 2010

Snapshot

It is possible to stand in your garden beside the spindled arms of a Bee Balm plant and end up eye-to-eye with a hummingbird. I know this, because as I yanked at weeds in a red sleeveless t-shirt yesterday, this happened to me.

At the sound of his hum, I stood up, then froze as he hovered, dead ahead, less than two feet away, brain synapses visibly clicking while his pulsating wings held him aloft. He hovered, we both stared. He was, I suppose, intrigued by the color of my top, and I held my breath for long seconds--until prudence won out over nectar and he veered toward the bush, then up to the sky.

Cameras are meant for moments like these, but sometimes you stumble on an image unprepared, so you attempt to record it via memory, cataloging the see-through blur of his green wings, the red blotch at his throat you wanted to touch, the way his black eyes glimmered like tiny onyx in the sun.

Then you brush off your hands, and swallow a little hope that you never forget the moment--because it's unlikely you'll get that lucky again.

15 comments:

Sharon said...

Magic! "Tis a message of good things to come... I'm thinking.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My wife is always taking photos, but I prefer to enjoy the moment like you did with the hummingbird.

Jan Morrison said...

twice now you've been forced to show us with words and both times utter magic has ensued. Bravo! I'm going to look up humminbird magic and send it to you. Here goes: from http://hummingbirdworld.com/h/totem.htm
In MEDICINE CARDS: THE DISCOVERY OF POWER THROUGH THE WAYS OF ANIMALS, Jamie Sams and David Carson say that, for many people, the hummingbird is the creature that opens the heart.

When we assume hummingbird consciousness, our life becomes a wonderland of sensuous delights. We live for beauty, delighting in flowers, aromas, fine mist, and delicate tastes.

When it becomes our totem, the hummingbird teaches us to laugh and enjoy the creation, to appreciate the magic of being alive, and the truth of beauty.

Hummingbirds awaken us to the beauty of the present moment. As they dance the four quarters of embodied exisence, they bring us medicine to solve the riddle of duality. They also awaken us to the medicinal properties of plants.

In ANIMAL SPEAK, Ted Andrews says hummingbirds teach us how to draw the life essence from flowers. "They can teach us how to use flowers to heal and win hearts in love."

Hummingbirds teach us fierce independence. They teach us to fight in a way where no one really gets hurt. They teach us simple courage. Andrews says the twittering, vibrating sounds of the hummingbirds bring us an internal masage that restores health and balance.

Hummingbirds also inspire us to protect the environment and to preserve old traditions that are in danger of being lost. When Native American ways were being destroyed by the expanding Euro-American culture, the Ghost-Shirt religion was established to try to bring back the animals and old ways through dancing. The leader of the dance was a hummingbird.

Certainly hummingbird magic is available to all who live in the New World. There is something inside the soul of all of us that wants to soar through sunbeams, then dance midair in a delicate mist, then take a simple bath on a leaf.

There is something in our souls that wants to hover at beautiful moments in our lives, making them freeze in time. There is something in us that wants to fly backwards and savor once more the beautiful past.

Some of us are just hummingbird people.

me here - now that sounds about right doesn't it?

Lydia Kang said...

Oh, don't ever forget this memory!
Wait, you've recorded it on your blog. Great. So now everyone gets to share. Sweet!
Thanks for this post! I loved it.

Robin said...

If you'd had the camera and tried to use it, you wouldn't have gotten the moment. That would have been a shame because the moment was glorious. How many people can say that they were that close to a hummingbird for that long? I say again that you didn't need the camera. I was right there with you.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

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Yvonne Osborne said...

Great account of a close encounter. They're amazing little birds. Thanks!

Tamika: said...

I love the way you capture moments! Thanks for sharing Liza:)

Helen Ginger said...

What a great experience, Liza.

Sometimes even cameras don't help. We have a feeder outside our window and when the sun is setting, I close the shades, but we can still see the shadow of the hummers as they come to drink. I've tried to take a picture of the hummingbird's shadow on the shade, but I can't capture it so it looks as wonderful as it is in real life.

KarenG said...

I know how this feels. It's magical. Like you just got introduced to a fairy. We have hummingbirds around our pond and I've watched them close like this. I love how you described it.

Ro Magnolia said...

I like picture books - you know the kind you find on people's coffee tables? Amazing photography can be found in them at times. As you can probably tell from my blog, I do love photography, but, oh, my soul craves the written word! You are a wordsmith - the vision you crafted with your words was absolutely exquisite! So I'm secretly kind of happy in a terribly selfish way that you didn't have a camera near-by. :)

Stephen Tremp said...

I had a moment like that with a small deer once amny years ago. Sure wish I had a camera at the time. We were both spooked. It literally jumped over me and I had to duck to avoid he hooves hitting me in the head.

Stephen Tremp

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Beautiful tale! Love it!

The experience sounds marvelous.
Sylvia Dickey Smith

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

The brain is a marvelous computer. You shall pull up that image for a long time to come, I'm sure.
I once interviewed a hummingbird rehabilitator. She kept injured and orphaned hummingbirds. Babies were in plastic cups on kitchen counters and the tiny woman flitted about feeding them. Outside was a caged area for those on the mend. It was extraordinary.

The Empress said...

What a blessing! We have a huge trumpet vine in our yard, and the early morning always has so many hummingbirds there. WE LOVE IT!