True to form, these last couple of weeks of vast change in our personal lives, I have been finding refuge in small spurts in the backyard. I’ve always been a backyard girl, excited about plants and animals that live there. Considering that the clematis and climbing roses have created a breathtaking paradise just outside our back door, recently I’ve spent a larger quantity of time outside than normal. It just so happens that an amazing phenomenon has been taking place. Not only have the tiniest birds in the avian world taken up residence in and around our yard, but the Ruby-throated hummingbirds have become a ubiquitous presence throughout every moment of daylight—even at 5:30 am. The garden fairies are out in full force now, rain or shine.
Before a friend gave us a hummingbird feeder several years ago, my husband and I had lived much of our lives in the Midwestern United States without ever even encountering a single hummingbird. Given their size and speed, hummingbirds are difficult to watch or even notice. But with a feeder and a garden blooming with hummingbird favorites, we now have such a steady stream of hummingbirds flitting about that it’s not uncommon for a hummer to come up for a personal greeting. Armed with my digital SLR camera, I have been hanging out near the hummingbird feeder to catch a shot or two.
Each time I actually capture a good photograph of a hummingbird, I rejoice! It’s not easy standing hidden and still for long minutes waiting, and hummers may be one of the fastest moving targets imaginable. BUT, I do occasionally catch a couple of good ones … I’d like to share a couple with you.
Every year, we have a juvenile male hummer take up residence near the feeder, and literally try to guard the feeder from any other hummers. Whenever another hummingbird comes into the vicinity, the high-speed chase begins. Funny enough, he chit-chits at me so as to scare me away as well, and if I’m lucky enough, he’ll do the famous hummingbird dive-bomb, too. It’s amazing that the tiniest of all birds have the largest personalities! So, as I caught this photograph of the mature male Ruby-throated hummer, the guard must have been sleeping…
The hummingbird in the next photograph was enchanting—completely unaffected and undeterred by my presence. I’m judging by the shortened tail and fluffy feathers that this one is a juvenile—I think it’s adorable!
Finding perspective while the winds of change blow through can be difficult. For our family, in the midst of an international move, looming change blows in like a gale force. Nothing seems as if it will stay familiar. But in the midst of unfamiliarity, many things stay the same—Nature. The sun rises and sets. The flowers bloom and the grass grows, regardless of what our schedules say. The birds fly and the sky blazes in impressive colors and shapes, unswayed by the craziness of our lives.
Solace and peace isn’t easy to hunt and find, but it certainly can be experienced by sitting back for a while, catching a breath or two, and enjoying the creation around us. Through the winds of change, I’ll be catching my breath in the backyard, camera in hand, catching more joys that fly.