Sunday, December 12, 2010


My grandfather had a hummingbird feeder hanging in the big tree by the front window of the house. I could sit at the kitchen table and see them, sometimes by the dozens, dipping their beaks rapidly, wings beating ceaselessly. My grandmother would prepare the "nectar" for them; it looked like kool-aid, but I tasted it once. It wasn't. The feeders themselves had yellow plastic flowers on them with holes for the feeding. We could never take really good pictures of them--they were too fast. I tried to pick one and follow it with my eyes as it went from "flower" to "flower." Every moment seemed brief but clear, separated from all the other moments. Once a hummingbird, a ruby-throated one, hit the side of the house and met his untimely end. His small body was put on the porch rail so we could look at it throughout the day. I held his perfectly formed body, turning him this way and that, so that the sunlight hit his ruby throat. He was beautiful.

I was involved with a man who reminded me of this hummingbird (also a cat, but that's a later blog, maybe). His quickness, rapidity of thought. His movements fast and efficient. His suddeness. Each moment I spent with him seemed like a hummingbird moment: separate, suspended in time, perfect. The moments did not flow into one another like moments with a person often do, because we weren't building anything. No future. Each moment existed on itself, ephemeral, elusive. I try to re-create them in my mind, but they are like the indistinct blur of hummingbird wings. Sometimes he would be perfectly still, and I could examine him. He was beautiful.

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