by Cathy Anderson Corn
A few days ago, my husband Alan changed the sunflower seed feeder on the small window to our deck to the hummingbird feeder with its sugary, liquid contents. The winter birds can fend for themselves now, and we watch with breathless excitement as the little hummers swoop in and hover or sit to feed. We're breathless because if you move within the house, they instantly dart away.
It's a dreamy time, watching ruby-throated darlings with their bright green coats and red throats. The tiny birds induce magic with their wild wing choreography, and I've heard them buzz past me on the deck as I sit unsuspectingly. The whirring's too loud for a winged bug or yellow jacket, and no matter how statue-like I am, my presence scares them off.
This year's different, for little Missy, the new cat, devised a method of terrorizing the chickadees and cardinals who came in the winter for seeds. She crouched on the television just below the window, then "attacked" the birds that flew in to feed. She's applying equal zest to the hummers, jumping on the window sill just after they arrive. Only time will tell if hummingbirds like surprises.
How do these tiny wonders relate to us? Ted Andrews in his book Animal-Speak talks of totem animals whose spirits can teach us valuable lessons. He believes that nature coexists with us and can give us information and messages through these animal spirits.
According to Ted, the hummingbird represents tireless joy and reminds us to find joy in what we do and to sing it out. The hummingbird can hover, fly backward, forward, and sideways. It cannot survive without flowers (or my feeder) and 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.
Hummingbirds are playful, fiercely independent, hard workers, master architects, and can hibernate overnight. Over 300 species of hummingbirds are identified. Some ruby-throats have been known to fly over 2500 miles, from Alaska to Central America. This migration makes the hummingbird a symbol for accomplishing the impossible.
So this summer as we sip nectar (or some other nameless brew) and exude great joy, we'll be accomplishing seemingly impossible tasks in our writing careers (finishing the manuscript, getting an agent, selling a book). This will be the summer of the hummingbird.
Unless Missy scares them all off.