My Hummingbird Haven, by Wendy DeRaud



“May my faith always be the end of the day like a hummingbird...returning to its favorite flower.” ― Sanober Khan,



I never have figured out how these birds are able to return to the same nest year after year. I can recognize the chirp of the grey-throated hummingbird, but I can see clearly that it is not the same bird as the original Hummy. Maybe it's one of the 2 sets of fledglings I saw make those dramatic launches each of those two years. Their life cycles were complete and both chicks of two separate sets of nestlings all survived.


The Original Hummy in 2013 feeding her young nestling



Maybe they remember, or instinctually know, that it is a safe place for a nest. They recognize the nest itself, the smells, the sense of it, just like the old childhood home that we return to years after we left it.

But this was clearly the 2018 Hummy. I was overjoyed to see her, because last year had been a down year on the Hummingbird plantation. Overall, the whole homestead had been down and out - the plot where I usually grow tomatoes had turned to fallow ground, the drought had taken its toll on my garden, plus the loss of our business and passing distress of our life last year had brought its own kind of drought, maybe an emptiness and grief which a visiting hummingbird would sense and choose to pass by.


This year was different, there was hope in the air. 




The flower garden was more vibrant in color than I remember. It wasn't just that I had given it more care, though certainly I had, but the flowers could sense the hope with which I watered and doted on them. The nutrients were replenishing my soul and the soil at the same time, so tomatoes were growing on my vines, and the atmosphere beckoned Hummy to come into its hope and redemption.

Her coming brought me the resonance I needed to confirm in my heart that hope had returned, a message from a garden faerie. As she brings her beak full of nectar and pours it into those hungry chicks, she is all-giving, all-nurturing, a picture of devotion and kindness. As I watch, my heart is glad.


2018 Hummy feeding her nestlings. They're getting big enough so that you can barely see their beaks reaching up to their Mama. 



Soon I'll say goodbye to another Hummy and another set of her fledglings. I will savor the documentation of every last movement toward their successful launch, trying to stay clear and give them privacy. Soon they will be flying away to traverse hemispheres at the speed of light, zipping across sunrises to sunsets, from Argentina to Guatemala, and back again, tirelessly quivering on winds of tomorrow, harnessing the power of sound and beauty in their reverberating stillness, their elegant constancy.

When God made hummingbirds, like everything else He made, it was on purpose.

Each tiny lightening-strike, fervently stirring, darting figure, alighting, invigorating energy, was created for delight, glorious and joyful, transcendent and free, carried to us on those enigmatic wings.

We are taken in by one so small yet powerful in love, graceful in giving, bearers of hopeful tomorrows. Just by being their dearest selves, they kiss the daylight with their charm and tenderness.

Though they are fierce in their territorial and jealous love, they are loyal friends and will let you get to know them, slowly and carefully.

I hope you too can know a Hummy, and that she too can make a nest in your heart, to keep it warm in years of drought and in sunshine. Once you find her, don't let her get away.


My Hummingbird Shrine featuring my original hummingbird diptych