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First sighting

A hummingbird came by this morning.

The hummingbird may be the smallest of birds, but it is also the most fascinating.  Anyone who has ever seen this tiny bird is filled with a sense of wonder and joy.  Its name comes from the vibration of its wings as it flies or hovers.  We have all heard how good it is to whistle while we work, but humming is much more effective.  It creates an internal massage, restoring health and balance.  This the hummingbird reminds us to do.  It reminds us to find joy in what we do and to sing it out.

… Hummingbirds have knowledge of how to use flowers for healing.  This includes their fragrance, their color, and herbal qualities as well.  They can teach you how to draw the life essence from them and create your own medicines — as in the case of Bach flower remedies and other flower elixirs.  They can teach you how to use flowers to heal and win hearts in love.

… No other bird can fly backwards.  This reflects hummingbird’s ability to explore the past and to draw from it the nectars of joy.  The hummingbird can help you find joy and sweetness in any situation.  Its swiftness is always a reminder to grab joy while you can — as quickly as you can.

… the hummingbird is a symbol for accomplishing that which seems impossible.  It will teach you how to find the miracle of joyful living from your own life circumstances.

~ Ted Andrews, Animal Speak

Hostas in the rain.

Well, I guess we could all use a way to “find the miracle of joyful living” from our current life circumstances.  Surprisingly, I’m not finding it hard to do.  Joy has a way of slipping in, even when I’m not looking for it.  I’m still going through a full range of other emotions.  Most of the emotions we humans are known for have been present and accounted for, each and every day, since we began the lockdown.  It always startles me, a little, to find myself in one of those joyful moments.  Everything else slips away for a little while when that happens.

A last hanger-on.

We woke up to rain this morning, along with a hummingbird hovering around the azalea bush that lives just off the back deck.  I was in the midst of exercising when I saw it.  He was sipping from the flowers.  Every now and then he would come up to the clothesline and perch for a few minutes.  Whenever he did, I paused the exercise DVD I was using, grabbed my camera, and tried to get a shot of him through the window of the patio door.  Of course he would fly off as soon as I got him in focus.  I did eventually catch him.  I didn’t get the best of shots, but you can clearly see it’s a hummingbird.

When the sun was with us yesterday.  (Does anyone know, without having to go to any trouble, what kind of tree this is?)

Now I’m having the great debate with myself over setting up the feeder.  I feel I should.  He probably traveled a long way to get here and could use a good meal.  But.  There was no sugar to be found at the grocery store the last time we shopped.  It was gone with the flour, the yeast, the rice, the hot dogs, and the toilet paper.  My concern is not for us, but for the birds.  If I put out the feeder and run out of sugar, will that matter to the hummingbirds?  Perhaps not.  It should take a week or two to run out of sugar, depending on how much we use (M is still baking magic upside down cakes every now and then).  We might even stretch it out to three weeks if we don’t use much of it for ourselves.

Decision made.  I shall feed the hummers.  We don’t need to be eating sugar, anyhow.

Waving.

Mr. Andrews had more to say about the hummingbird.  Here’s a little from the Animal Speak Facebook page:

Hummingbird Meaning
The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. Additional symbolic meanings are:
• Lightness of being, enjoyment of life
• Being more present
• Independence
• Bringing playfulness and joy in your life
• Lifting up negativity
• Swiftness, ability to respond quickly
• Resiliency, being able to travel great distances tirelessly

Mr. Andrews died in 2009.  The Facebook page is maintained by a fan.

Wind and tide.

I have all kinds of thoughts running through my head today.  Thoughts about the way things have gone down here in the U.S. with the pandemic, thoughts about the colossal waste of food that’s currently going on in this country.  I’m going to haul out my soapbox for a minute because the food issue is sickening.  Here on the Eastern Shore, 1.8 million (probably more by now) chickens were slaughtered and thrown away because they don’t have workers for the chicken processing plants.  Leaving aside the issue of how the chickens are inhumanely raised in industrial agriculture — which is a big damn issue — let’s just talk about how there are people starving in the U.S. and right here in the county I live in, who could have taken at least some of those chickens and processed them on their own.  I’m guessing there are a lot of folks here that know how to kill, gut, and pluck a chicken.  I don’t have to guess.  I know there are.  I know they could not have given away all of the chickens.  1.8 million (or more) is a lot.  But something could have been done that didn’t involve so much waste and that would have fed some of the people who need to be fed.

Or how about the vegetables rotting in the fields in Florida and in the Northwest U.S.?  Zucchini, squash, potatoes.  I did read that one farmer in Idaho decided to advertise “free potatoes” on Facebook rather than let them rot in the field.  People came from miles around to take them and the farmer got rid of most, if not all, of them.  There are dairy farmers throwing away milk and cheese.  Seriously?  You can’t find another way to deal with it?  Give it to a food bank.  Advertise it on Facebook like the potato farmer did.  Set up a stand and sell it.

A young maple in the woods.

Ok, I’m putting away my soapbox now.  It’s day 37 of the 40-day self-care challenge.  How are you?  (I really do want to know.)

Today has been a good day in terms of exercise, walking, and yoga and meditation practices.  Yoga and meditation are turning into more than practice.  A ritual, perhaps of the sacred variety.  Loaded words again.  Sacred, prayer, God or god.  Faith.  I think it is faith that brings me to my mat every morning.  Not in a religious sense.  It’s a way of trusting the practice and the process.  My walks are like that now, too.  A pilgrimage of sorts.  There is a sense of surrender to it all, of letting go.

Caged. (Every year the deer would eat this poor tree down to a measly stick. We finally put a cage around it and it’s starting to grow and thrive.)

Thank you so much for visiting with me today.  I hope all is well with you and your loved ones.  Oh yes, speaking of loved ones, thank you for all the good thoughts, prayers, and vibes for my brother.  He had the surgery yesterday and word is that it went well.  I have not heard anything today.  Hopefully he continues to do well.  It’s so hard, not to be able to run up there and visit with him.  I can only begin to imagine how my brother’s wife must feel, not being able to see him while he’s going through all of this.

Please be safe, be well, and be kind.  ♥♥♥

So much grace.

A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy:  1,386)  The gracefulness of dogwood trees.  Their brachts (flowers), branches, and leaves all have such an elegant, almost balletic, quality to them.  1,387)  The return of the hummingbirds.  1,388)  Trust, or what I can muster of it.  It’s not an easy thing to do, to trust.  I’m better at it than I used to be.  1,389)  Outsmarting the deer.  1,390)  Gratitude, deep gratitude, for those who are taking care of my youngest brother.

Author:

Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, wife, sometime poet, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She finished a 365 commitment to get outside every day in 2011, and has turned it into a lifelong commitment taking one or more walks each day. Robin will continue to share her walks through her words and images on Breezes at Dawn. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are in the midst of renovating the house and property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

27 thoughts on “First sighting

  1. You already have one – you have to get the feeder.
    Funny how joy is standing right at your shoulder…if you pay attention – and don’t block it.
    The chickens (eggs are so scarce here…) and real fresh food with no place to go is so disturbing. (Factory farms are such a horror story in any case)
    Good for the farmers who manage to contact those willing to come pick it – a trend that needs to spread even after this is over.
    Walking is good. Balancing in so many ways
    (How are the Chincoteague Ponies doing – heard they are fighting swamp cancer ( which also attacks humans) Take care ponies!)
    Take care and sending healing thoughts to you and yours

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, PhilosopherMouse. 🙂 They have a vaccine they’re trying and the word they’re using is “encouraging.” I do hope it works. I did get the feeder out. The hummingbird insisted. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great news about your brother! And how lovely to see that hummingbird. It won’t be long before they arrive in Maine. As for the soapbox… make room for me. I have been thinking exactly the same thing as you have. People are waiting in long, long, long lines at food pantries, which are scrambling for food. And milk is being dumped? Vegetables are rotting? What the heck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laurie. 🙂 There is a little good news on the food front. There are more farmers donating food, and Chef José Andrés of the World Central Kitchen has been out sounding the alarm on this, getting other restaurants and chefs involved in picking up food from the farmers. It’s probably going to take a while to get it all organized but I was glad to see there are people doing something about this.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Wonderful post.
    Your photos have a richness and uniqueness –
    And cheers to the hummingbird and all that Positive symbolism and meaning Connected to it!

    I have a little metal garden ornament of a Hummingbird that I now like more – 😉

    And the soap box rant made me sad – I hope food does not have have to rotted or get destroyed

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yeah the food situation distresses me. AFAC isn’t taking fresh produce anymore (for reasons of fewer people to process it and they’re giving bags of groceries repacked to reduce the number of people in the warehouse). I’ve found a couple places that are, so I’m hoping to still be able to give food from the garden. Keep grabbing the joy when it comes. It’s a lovely thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad to learn that your brother’s surgery went well, prayers continuing…
    Today was a challenging day for us here… cold and rainy, with tensions were running high for some reason. I wondered about the collective consciousness– I often pick up the higher pitched ‘whine’ of societal anxiety. Sunny days are better when we can get outside.
    Nice to see your hummer – that means their arrival here is about 10-14 days away – yay! I never use sugar feeders, but put out hanging plants like Million Bells, Fuchsia and tubular flowers they favor. They go crazy over Cuphea ignea ‘Vermillionaire’ (Cigar Plant)! I find it easier to tend plants than feeders, I guess. 😉
    Your mystery tree looks like a kind of willow, possibly Black Willow, (Salix nigra), or possibly a Willow Oak (Quercus phellos), both are common along the Delmarva shore.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Eliza. 🙂 All the prayers must have worked wonders. He went home earlier than expected and is doing really well.
      Thank you for the info about the mystery tree, too. I need to sit down and look those up. We have them all over the place and my husband, who is our resident tree expert, couldn’t figure out what they are (I’m not sure he did much research).
      I usually have plenty of flowers in addition to the feeder, but this year I don’t (although they are enjoying the azalea which, after years of only producing one or two flowers, is finally filled out with blooms). I already left a note about why I didn’t plant at your place so I won’t repeat it here.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It is shocking that farmers are throwing away food while so many people are waiting in long car lines at food banks. I know there are two food chains (one to restaurants, schools and institutions and the other to grocery stores) and that the packaging can’t easily be changed between the two but for Pete’s sake… Surely we’re smart enough to figure this problem out?!? Hats off to the farmer who let people come take his potatoes.

    Yoga, walks in the woods, video chats with family and friends, hugs from my husband, and jigsaw puzzles are my lifelines to joy.

    Happy to hear your brother is okay. hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Barbara. Hugs to you, too. 🙂 Jigsaw puzzles! That’s a great idea. I think I’ll see what we have in the closet. It will make me feel like I’m on vacation (we always had one we could work on during the inevitable rainy days).

      Like

  7. After a friend told me wife that she saw a hummingbird, my wife got our feeder out. Several weeks have passed, still none. But we should see them soon! Best wishes to your brother’ recovery. Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Frank. 🙂 He’s home and doing well. I hope your hummingbirds show up soon. Ours are busy fighting over the feeder now.

      Like

  8. Robin…oh dear kindred spirit…I’m glad to know that your brother is well. Will continue to include him in prayer, as I pray for all of those living on the margins as well as for those who cannot see beyond their wealth to be able to offer something free to those who need it rather than destroying it. We are well, here. As cases increase, and deaths, lockdown is set to continue until at least June 10. New habits and patterns for living notwithstanding, the beauty of all things nature offers balm for weary souls…if we open our eyes and hearts to its gifts. Presence. Thank you for the focus on the beautiful hummingbird. They are a miracle before our eyes! I will get one of my feeders out today! Careful not to unpack too many…as we are preparing for a move. Thank you for the inspiration from all of the nature you encounter. Sending love and blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Carrie. ❤ Our numbers are increasing here, too, although they are small compared to other places (I think we’re up to 32 now). Another move? Oh my. I can’t imagine trying to move with all that’s going on now. Then again, yes I can. I’ve thought about it, to be honest. If this lasts as long as it’s possible it might, and my husband continues to work from home, why be here when we could be closer to family? It’s a thought that arises often. Sending blessings and love to you too. May your move go smoothly.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The food waste bothers me to my very bones. It is wrong on so many levels. I adore hummingbirds, but have yet to see any around here. I was planning on creating a special butterfly garden area and adding a feeder for them, but it won’t be this year. Good of you to forgo sugar so they can thrive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ally. The hummingbirds seem to appreciate it although they are at war now, chasing each other away from the feeder. I usually have flowers for the birds and butterflies, but didn’t plant this year because we thought we’d be away more than home. That may not be the case now so I’m thinking of taking a trip to a local nursery to see what they have. Maybe the next time I go grocery shopping. For all I know, the nursery is selling the toilet paper I can’t find in other stores. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  10. There’s something magical about seeing a hummingbird. It must have been my “conversation” with you, but I saw a rabbit this morning while I was out walking. 😀
    I’m glad your brother’s surgery went well, and I hope he has a smooth recovery and can go back home soon. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Merril. He’s home now. I was surprised at how soon they released him considering how major the surgery was, but he’s doing well and he’ll probably recover faster at home. 🙂 I’m glad a bunny finally appeared for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yea!!!! I haven’t seen any here yet but they could show up any moment. I changed the food in their feeder yesterday just in case. Your water drops on hosta leaves is similar to one I just took today, only mine was water drops on skunk cabbage. And I LOVE your dogwood blossom image! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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