A few days ago, while I was in the garage, I heard some fluttering noises. It was a hummingbird. He had gotten himself lost in the garage and was desperately and futilely trying to escape through the little window panes in the roll-up garage door.
The dogs had alerted to the sound and their noses were pointing up at the little windows in full hunting mode. Since Zuri, the Sloughi, is a fierce hunter and a pretty good jumper when motivated, I quickly hustled all the dogs into the house, opened the door to the garage, turned off the lights and got a broom to try to shoo the little guy out the door.
No such luck. He zoomed up into the dusty rafters and hid, ignoring the open door and my waving broom. So I gave up, rolled down the garage door, opened the back door (which is how he got in) and let him be and went back into the house.
A short time later I heard the fluttering again, this time at the front living room windows. Once again, hustled the dogs out the door, turned out all the lights, opened the front door and got out the broom, but the hummer was having none of it and flew around the room several times before crashing into the kitchen window and slumping down to the sink.
I quickly grabbed a tea towel, crept up, tossed it over him and gently scooped him up, fearful he'd bolt out and start the desperate chase all over again. But he was totally spent, his tiny feet tangled in sticky cobwebs and dust, exhausted. Since I had no idea how long he had been trapped, it's likely he hadn't eaten for some time and his reserves were probably on zero.
I gently carried him outside, still clutched in the towel, and started peeling away the cobwebs from his exquisite little clawed feet. When I had gotten enough of the stuff off, I pulled the towel away from his head. He lay there, his jeweled throat glowing magenta, but made no move to leave.
Suddenly he must have gotten oriented and leaped from my hands and fluttered clumsily into the nearest bush, his left wing akimbo. Suddenly sick at heart, I thought he might have broken his wing. But after a minute, he fluffed and shook himself and his wing fell into place. He then looked around and made a bee line for the feeder, landed on the perch -- belly up to the bar -- and proceeded to stand there and suck down that life-saving nectar.
Then, in all his fierce, fragile beauty, he flew off to the huge coyote bush, safe once again in his territory, focused once again on the business of living.
On this day, my list of things to be thankful for will be a long, long list. And right at the top will be the memory of the sudden, life-claiming flight of that determined little bird who burst out from a dark, scary place into the bright light of day.
There is craft in this smallest insect,
With strands of web spinning out his thoughts;
In his tiny body finding rest,
And with the wind lightly turning.
Before the eaves he stakes out his broad earth;
For a moment on the fence top lives through his life.
When you know that all beings are even thus,
You will know what creation is made of.
Sugaware no Michizane