Hummingbird on the Wind
Copyright 2023 by Sarah Thomas
Photo by Robert Thomas at Wikimedia Commons.
Texas, Spring is a brief and unpredictable time. Winds blow and
rains come, or a drought comes, and sun bakes or northern breezes
blow in and chill us for short return of winter. You wake up every
day unaware of what may have occurred overnight; unless you stick
close to the weather app on your phone or watch the weather channel.
If a big Ďweather eventí is coming through my mom usually
lets me know via text message. She lives less than a mile from me, so we
pretty much have all the same weather.
spring a few years ago now, I was pregnant with my fifth child. My
other children were 8, 6, 4 and 2 Ĺ years old at the time. We
homeschool so there was no morning rush. It was just ďget your
chores done, get your breakfast, get dressed (or you know, donít)
and for the older two, get some math done, first thing.Ē The
children were at various stages of going through these motions of the
daily drudge when I opened the front door wide exclaiming the beauty
of the day and the pleasantness of the air. It felt so good. I had to
open the house up. Like an old coat in the back of the closet or a
book left too long on the shelf, it just needed air, and so did I. I
was nauseous, a lot. The smells of my kitchen, refrigerator, pantry
and bread box (especially that bread box) all made me gag. So, in an
impulse after smelling that fresh air I opened all the windows and
doors I could.
best spring days are the ones that have a cool breeze with sunshine
and enough cloud cover that you wonít burn, even if you work
outside in the garden all day, like you could never do in summer. The
kids will play in the yard. We will take out the picnic blanket for
lunch. Itís warm but not hot and the breeze might often be a
bit much, but not on this day. This was a truly perfect spring day.
The kitchen was dirty, the house was a mess, but the sky was blue
with puffy white clouds and the air was so fresh it made you feel new
just by opening the front door. Now, itís not good for the
house, my husband will say, (HVAC and all) but the flies and
mosquitoes werenít bad yet in March and on a day like that I
just canít help myself but to open the front door of my little
farmhouse and let that wind blow out all the stale air and stale
kids were mulling about getting breakfast and chores going. I stepped
out into the yard to water plants and piddle around hoping to give my
nausea some relief. I was doing something, I donít recall what,
when my oldest ran out of the front door to call out to me.
thereís a hummingbird IN the house, and its stuck! It canít
neat honey,Ē I said the novelty of the situation wasnít
totally lost on me but I was vaguely annoyed at the interruption.
worry, Iím sure he will find his way back out.Ē
Mom! Heís stuck. He keeps trying to go out the window, but he
I was concerned. My childhood home had a sunroom that my mother used
as her art studio, and I had seen birds die or stunned trying to fly
through those windows. So, I huffed that I was coming, and I walked
up the small hill our house sits on. As I walked inside the house, my
eyes followed my ears to this perfect little bird who was hovering in
my living room. He was humming, shinning, emerald-green, with a ruby
throat, wings moving so fast you couldnít see them move, just
the impression of where they had been. I couldnít help but to
smile at my son.
isnít he beautiful?Ē I said in true delight. His grin
mirrored my own.
Letís try to gently push him towards the door,Ē I said.
we did this, I watched the tiny creature, feeling my heartbeat
increase as if trying to keep up with his tiny rapid one. He was
breathtaking, so perfect and clean, not a feather out of place. The
sound of the humming filled my ears and our small open-concept home.
He darted from the corners of the home with windows, from the living
room to the dining area and back around in a circle. He avoided the
side of the house where the door was open to our covered porch
because there were no windows that way. He was staying in the light.
must have been getting tired and my scheme of pushing him like a herd
animal was not working. He was hovering in the bright light of the
dining window. It was open, but there was a screen and he bumped
against it a few times. This made me nervous for him. I told my son
to stay back, so not to startle him. I attempted to walk up to him
without much of a plan. He seemed panicked and I felt for him. I
wanted to help.
walked very slowly up to the window where he was hovering, arms
outstretched to keep my balance, almost looking like a bird myself.
To my great astonishment that bird accepted my help. He landed on my
outstretched right-arm. I froze. I needlessly whisper-screamed to get
my sonís attention. He was already watching. He looked as
surprised as I felt, mouth gaping wide open. Both of us had eyebrows
arched and grinned speechless.
going to try and walk him to the door, really slowly.Ē I
whispered. My son nodded in understanding.
made my way very slowly towards the door, heart racing and thumping
loudly in my ears. My daughter walked in the room and my son
whisper-shouted to explain. I focused on not startling the bird but
first I caught that same look of amazement on her face. I tried to
appreciate the beauty of the small creature up close. It was so
small. It was hard to believe that it was as complex a creature as a
bird. It seemed more likely to be a large bug, like a moth. The color
so brilliant, like everything around him had been black and white and
only now had I seen true vivid color. I was so afraid he would flit
off again in a moment before I reached the door. Then the cycle would
start over again, but he did not. He stayed there resting trustfully
on my arm, heaven knows why. Just as I got to the doorway, I turned
my arm out so he would find the sky and he did. He took off into the
pleasant, mild spring wind.
Thomas and her husband are raising their children on a small farm in
coastal Texas. She spends most days homeschooling her five children.
Sarah loves to grow veggies for her family and friends and flowers
for herself and the bees.
of the message
won't know where to send it.)
Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher