Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Belmont, North Carolina 22.7.91: Hummingbirds and Angels Unaware

I saw my first hummingbird today. When I got up, groggy and sleep drunk, it was at the feeder outside the kitchen window—surprisingly assiduous as it poked its beak into the slot and extracted sugar water. My glasses were so foggy, and I was watching from an angle for fear that if I turned my head I’d spook it, so that I couldn’t see the color well.

Once, it stopped feeding and approached the window head-on to look in, then returned to feed. Steve was standing to my right; he had been drawing a kettle of water when I saw the bird, and I stopped him. Finally something alerted the bird to our presence and away it flew.

Then I went onto the back porch and after awhile, when Steve went in to get orange juice, the bird returned. It whizzed in front of me looking tiny as a bee, then lit—or the closest to that birds come—and began to feed. Then I turned my head slightly, and the bird must have seen, because it stopped, turned to face me as if peering myopically down its long nose, and away it went. I saw it at least twice more flitting by—or maybe there were several—but it did not feed again. When it turned to face me at the feeder, I saw its throat, a beautiful ruby color.

Why am I so excited? For one thing, because I’m the last to see it. Both Steve and Mother saw the bird last week. And because Steve and I are going on vacation today, and somehow my sighting of the bird seems an auspicious omen. No. That’s fancying it up. What I mean to say is that the two seem connected. Both seem to point to the need for a vast (spiritual) sea-change inside me: a retrieval of my ability to see hummingbirds and angels unaware.

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