Saturday, November 12, 2011


The hummingbird and I have been doing a careful dance since we first noticed each other last year, recognizing perhaps in our advancing and retreating a certain set of similarities in the too-quick fluttering of our hearts and the frailty of our bones. The fortune teller in Italy told me that my spirit animal is probably the sparrow, tiny and drab and wallowing happily in the dust, but sometimes I wonder about hummingbirds. There's something familiar in how the energy they need to keep themselves alive is conversely what keeps them always so close to starvation. As though in the late nights they can probably hear their bones clattering together, too, all hollow and anxious.

It was comforting to have the hummingbird in the trees through the hard winter of last year, to have a focus on needs other than my own. In the summer it ranged farther away, not needing me anymore with all of the flowers to visit and neighbors to meet, but in the last few weeks it had become a constant visitor again. I have spent much of the same time camped in my apartment, finishing my thesis project, and we have slowly become more familiar.

This afternoon I took down the feeder to resupply it with liquid, and when I went back on to the balcony to hang it back up the hummingbird was hovering around the window boxes, searching for it. It moved just out of reach while I put everything back together and then moved right back in as soon as I stepped away. It seems we've come to some new understanding, the hummingbird and I.