I don’t know much about hummingbirds,
what or whether they think as
they zip about in their incessant frenzy.
I don’t know what makes them stop and
stare at us—fragile feet tucked lightly
under their tiny hovering bodies, no
bigger than my smallest finger—
sitting on our porch in the evening.
Gingerly they dip their long beaks
Into the plastic flowers of the
feeder, sipping freely of the sugar and water
left their by their lumbering giant neighbors
before darting away into the bushes.
It just seems to me that they relish
their smallness—that they inhabit
their fragility with an inexorable
energy. I know that their buzzing
fills my heart with joy and that
I cannot help my laughter when they
chase each other around the yard,
careening through the branches
like a green and red blur. This is
their world, I think. And as much as I
would like to see myself as their
benefactor, as the caretaker my story tells
me I should be, I realize that the world
my kind has created is simply not conducive
to their frailty—that the harshness of our concrete,
electric world of profit and loss does violence
to the beauty of their fragile lightness.
Today, I found a small hummingbird dead on the
hard sidewalk, no doubt having flown headlong into the
plexiglas door her crumpled body lay next to.
The flowery bushes nearby seemed to droop
in my imagination as if mourning a life stolen, as if
grieving that she would no longer sip their nectar.
And, for a moment, I was reminded of the
words of the Lord that not one sparrow will fall
to the ground that God does not care for.
And I remember his next words, “Don’t worry—
you are worth more than many sparrows.” I
wonder whether he smiled as he said it
because I don’t feel worth many hummingbirds at all.
My own people treat their own with no more
care than the sidewalk had for this bird.
And I think that, between the world my
people have created and the one nurtured
by a one and a half inch hummingbird
roosting over her minuscule eggs
high up in the trees—
I like hers better than ours.