Friday, September 11, 2015

tiny magic ... and tears ...

For the second year in a row, I've put out a hummingbird feeder in our garden. While the bird books say that the ruby-throated is a seasonal visitor, I was skeptical. I mean, the winds alone would blast the little fellows clear across the state! Never mind the vast stretches of fields and prairie that would seem inhospitable for these tiny creatures.

So I am continually amazed when I look out my back door and spy a hummingbird flitting about the feeder. There had been one female coming to feed although sightings were sparse. A couple of times I've almost put the feeder away, certain no other birds would be visiting. But then I mix up a new batch of sugar water and hang it out, just in case

Yesterday I was pretty certain it was well-past the hummingbird season.  The tomatoes are surrendering the last of their fruit and the mint plants are looking rather leggy; summer is making her exit. I was hunting about the thicket of dying vines, reaching for a lone tomato buried deep within when something buzzed by me. I looked up and discovered I was in the middle of two hummingbirds engaged in territorial battle over my feeder!  

I believe they must be fueling up for their journey south as my feeder has been hopping with hummingbird action for the past 24-hours. This morning there is a chill in the air, a preview of Autumn, and the normally shy birds have stayed on the feeder even when I have wandered outside for a closer look. 

This display of hummingbird magic has done much to revive my own flagging spirits. I am not a hot weather person, so I find the lingering heat draining. I am very much aware of a kind of closure coming to this, my year of mourning for my mother.  The number of days when I can think back to a year ago and remember her with me, those days are dwindling to a hand full. A year ago she wasn't sleeping and could not find any relief to her exhaustion.  

A year ago, I had no idea goodbye would be coming so soon.

Today, I am aware of the impending departure of the hummingbirds. I have been captivated by their antics this morning. One female sits off to the side, on the garden fence, waiting to ambush any intruders. At least three have stormed the feeder and she attacks. This final feeding frenzy feels like a last gift of the season. 

This past year I feel I have felt quiet and even more intensely and inwardly focused than is my norm.  Much is happening beyond the space of words and action. I believe I have been re-rooting myself. Or acclimating my roots to new soil, to a world where my mother's physical being is absent. It has been lonely work, but I never really feel alone. Days like today, the hummingbird wings give lift to my spirits. Yesterday, I worked with the horses and felt their earthiness anchor my soul to this patch of prairie that is my home. 

This morning I learned another sweet being slipped over the fence to that other realm. I actually uttered out loud "oh no!" and sobbed when I read that Stevie, a resident of Apifera Farm, had died. 

I had read about Stevie on Katherine's blog, sketched him numerous times in the online class Capturing The Essence, and I finally got to meet him - twice! - on the farm. 

After my tears had abated, I admit to being grumpy and downright fed up. I mean, Death has been claiming far too many bright lights in my world this past year.  But then I could hear my mother laughing over me weeping for two old goats. Just as the hummingbirds so magically flew into my world, so too have the beings that I have loved best. Without having to do much of anything - just by being here and yes, having a little sweetness or sugar water at the ready helps - love comes in. It flies, it hobbles, it slides up beside me to nuzzle my sleeve or lick my palm. It comes when I am relaxed and open. It comes when I stop searching for it.

And just as quickly, it moves on. But if I have learned anything, it is that loves always returns. Just in new and unexpected forms. 

 I cannot hold onto those whom I love indefinitely. To grasp or grab, to demand or tantrum shatters the magic and sends love scrambling for cover. 

our new love, Beau

But I can be held by love. I can dwell in love which is to say, I choose to keep my heart  open, welcoming all the seasons of loving, knowing that the soil of my soul is enriched through the process of love welcomed and love released. 


  1. What a wonderful post- it is all how you look it, my mother would say. I miss him, but I do know what a gift he gave me in life, and in how and when he left. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Stevie, and the hummingbirds have brought so much into your world, and now a horse, well, that is the thing, one leaves another opens a door.

  2. I also think the entire year after my mother died [or father] each death, each occasion, had some meaning entwined with her, so each death had extra pain, sensation, spiritual awakenings, etc.

  3. it's a miracle indeed to think we can keep our hearts open when the pain of loss hurts so very deeply...and, for me anyway - so very repeatedly. and yet we do -- and YES, that's the magic of it, that love does return, in different and varied forms, but always back to us.

    so glad to know you, beautiful soul. xoxo

  4. Such wise words, keeping open to love coming in new and unexpected ways. Such is life when one door closes another opens. I love hummers, too. They are so ephemeral though, flitting in one moment and gone the next. Great teachers of learning to let go. xoxo