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Jun 21, 2018
She is weak and she is hesitant, but the little hummingbird chick must be getting restless, anticipating leaving her nest like her older sister did a few days before. She waits for her Mama to come back and feed her again, hoping she can continue a little longer in the comfort of nesting life.
Could she really be asking why she has to leave her nest?
Once again, I am projecting my human understand on this wee little creature.
She must miss her older sister, who was stronger and more determined than she to forge out on her own. This little runt is disinclined to make her big move, so instead, she preens, pulling out her feathers from the constraints of the nest in order to smooth them out again.
I wonder why this chick is so behind developmentally, and how much she is following the innate instinct that is built into her being. Will she know when she is ready to fly away for the first time, or if she needs more time?
She is prodded on by her Mama, as I watch her bat at her chick's beak as if to say, “You can do this!” Or is she forcing the issue and demanding it of her instead?
So over the course of nearly 3 days, I watched to see if I could catch a glimpse of her first flight. Just when I think she was making the break, she would deflect again, by preening, shifting sitting positions, going in and out of the nest, or looking all around distractedly. I saw her try her wings and fly right above the nest, but then settle back down again.
Did she know it wasn't the right time, or was she really scared?
On the third morning after her sister left, she was finally ready, but still it took time. First she got out of the nest and landed on the string of patio lights, not far from the nest.
After a little while, she ventured further still, and flew out into the garden, landing on a branch of the huge grapefruit tree, as her mother watched from far above on the bare branches of nearby tree.
I finally went inside, thinking she would fly off with her family, ready for birdie independence. But no, when I checked an hour later, she was still there. What was she waiting for? Eventually, she did fly away, as the fullness of her new life awaited her.
How like us, when faced with a big task, before making a big change we know we're supposed to make, that we suddenly have so many other things to do. We are so easily distracted by lesser obligations. We fritter away our time, because we’re afraid of the unknown new season. Yet we persist, because the spirit of God within us compels us to persist, and press into those obstacles, so we can overcome yet again.
Change is hard, even if it’s change for the better, because we are forced to shift from one way of thinking to another.
Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything. George Bernard Shaw
Not only do we have to let go of the old way of life, but we have to be able to imagine a new future, and be willing to venture into the new thing we may not fully comprehend, from a place of comfort and certainty. Even if we grow uncomfortable and are too big for our nests, it is still difficult to make the change simply because we may not be able to see what our new normal may look like.
"The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking." — Albert Einstein
Our brains are plastic, though, and new neuropathways can be created, if we are willing to step out into new habits and retrain our thoughts, slowly but surely.
I'll be exploring this process in future posts, but right now, I'm trying to adjust to my life without my hummingbirds.
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