Birds And Blooms

hummingbirds52web.jpg

Hummingbirds have always been my absolutely favorite bird. They are just so exquisitely beautiful and wondrous and magical to me. I have always shared a very special connection with them throughout my life, and have been fortunate to share so many magical moments with different hummingbirds over the years.

So many times, over the years, a hummingbird has stopped to hover in front of me, lingering in the air, as we’d look each other in the eyes for a long time. As I wrote when I first started The Simple Livings, in “Little Mrs. Livings,” “this is one of the greatest honors I know. This has happened many times. Mr. Livings even painted a painting, last winter, of me with one of the hummingbirds that, on my birthday one year, flew right up to me, inches from my face…so close…and looked deeply, for over a minute, into my eyes...suspended in the air, before it flew away."

That was such a truly special and magical moment of my life. As have been so many other incredible moments I have shared with hummingbirds over the years. Like this hummingbird, below, who often, when I am standing at my window gazing out, flies right up to the window and hovers there, looking me in the eyes for a long time:

hummingbird3.jpg

Such an honor this be!

2013-22-03pic6-550-22.jpg

And so lucky I feel that so much hummingbird magic and beauty I have seen...

...Like upon our Easter walk, many years ago, when Mr. Livings and I saw a hummingbird feeding her babies in the nest. As I stood there and I watched, I thought, such little hearts.

So based upon all these incredible moments (and more beyond just these I have shared) of hummingbird magic I have been a witness to over the years, I was so incredibly excited when, over a year ago, I found, in my mailbox, a notice that my father-in-law was gifting me with a subscription to the magazine, Birds & Blooms, since he knows how much I love both of those things...birds and blooms. I was so moved by his kind gesture and this perfect, thoughtful gift, which he has renewed for me since, and which I have been greatly enjoying each and every issue of that I have received henceforth since.

But the most recent issue, that I just received, is by far my favorite issue of them all so far. It is a hummingbird issue and it is just so very, very special. In the photo above, I am holding my copy of that issue that I just received, after taking it out of my mailbox and squealing with excitement. I immediately took it inside to read.

In this wonderful issue, I learned so many absolutely incredible things about hummingbirds. For instance, hummingbirds beat their wings up to 50 times per second. PER SECOND! They can also fly backwards, and their eggs are about the size of a jellybean. 

There was also a wonderful article inside this issue entitled, "The Life Of A Female Hummingbird," in which a photographer followed one ruby-throated hummingbird from her wintering grounds through the first part of nesting season. Just as I am forever in wonder at the fragility, yet perseverance, of the migration of butterflies across the sea, I find the hummingbird migration to also be truly remarkable and extraordinary. In this article I read how, for migrating hummingbirds, the shortest route north is across the Gulf of Mexico. This means they have to fly over open waters for about six hundred miles which can take, the article said, even with the kindest winds, about eighteen hours. And all this from a creature that weighs less than a nickel! Truly extraordinary!

But it was the back cover of this issue that made me fall head-over-heels-in-love with this particular issue, for it had a beautiful photograph, along with a wonderful quote by John Burroughs (the same writer who I quoted from the essay, "The Simple Life," that was in the nature treasury I recently picked up at the estate sale) on the back:

"If you want to see birds, you must have birds in your heart."

This is so beautifully said and also so true. I have always had birds in my heart, and have always seen them too.

Like the sweet birds, below, with their sweet baby brows:

079-2web.jpg

And the sweet babies of the bird that I called Mohawk, pictured below:

598-2web2.jpg

And, of course, dear, sweet Brown...one of the great loves, and most special connections, of my life, who I wrote about in, "Ode To Brown," and also in, "To See And Be Seen," who is pictured below:

...And these birds, below, standing in the falling snow last winter, when the whole world felt a snow-globe:

The same day this hummingbird, below, flew by...

So many wonderful and special bird moments I have witnessed over the years...

...watching lives fly by...

...witnessing a crow funeral...

...the day of mystery...Robin Friday...

...the crow in the mirror...and the injured owl, rehabilitated and set free...

...the various days I saved the baby birds' lives this year and last year...

...my bird friends who sit and listen as I, on my piano, play...

And too I have witnessed...

...so much love...

1616-2.jpg

...And also I have seen, and sorrowed for, they who do not get to fly...who do not get to, their own true nature, be...

And wonder...I have witnessed such wonders...

...and joy...

...and connection...

2013-27-10pic1-550.jpg

...and kindness...

All of this I have lived...I have witnessed...I have seen...

And have so from the beginning:

For to see birds you must have birds within your heart, the quote said.

There are countless birds in me.