I suppose we had romantic thoughts when we bought the hummingbird feeders. Like most things, it was more complicated than we thought including the delicate dance to hang the feeders full of sugar water without dripping it all over the house and our wrap-around porch.
Eventually, it happened and we were able to watch the tiny creature drink from our feeder. They truly are amazing birds. We sat in awe and then set about to try to capture subsequent visits on our phone cameras. This would prove to be more difficult, but eventually we felt rewarded for our efforts to see this beautiful display of nature only feet from where we sat mesmerized.
Then it happened! Wait, was that another one? It was! The second hummingbird was about the same size and quickly approached. “Look, another one!” I said, which scared both of them away. But, within minutes, they were both back, and that’s when we discovered the ugly truth about hummingbirds — they’re assholes.
Well, they’re not really jerks, they just have an inherent need to ingest as much sugar / nectar, etc. as they can to support their supercharged metabolism. When they are competing for nectar from plants, they risk running out of supply and having to fly long distances to find more. They don’t understand that the feeders we put out virtually limitless. So what we soon discovered was less like a beautiful, peaceful day in nature, and more like a dogfight.
As one would settle in to drink from the feeder, the other one would race in to knock his rival back from the source. They would chase each other out of sight, only to race back to sneak a drink before engaging once again with incoming detractors. We believe there is about 4 of the enchanting creatures in our area, and I’m still mesmerized when they hover a few feet above me until I can’t take it anymore and say “hi there!” and the they fly away.
I don’t want to tell you what kind of lesson to learn from the hummingbirds. Many amazing creatures don’t have the reasoning capacity we have even though they have some inherent traits that sometimes boggle the mind. Just appreciating the creature in our immediate area can sometimes keep me busy for hours. But there is one striking lesson that I took from the hummingbirds.
Sometimes the only think keeping us from peace is ignorance.
I am wondering whether many of our imagined “dogfights” are over things we think we know that we are really ignorant about. I imagine the hummingbird telling his son, “One thing I know for sure is that if you’re going to survive, you have to make sure you get the food supply before they do.” Then when his son tries to explain that this seems to be different, the older wiser bird interrupts, “it’s a well-known fact — don’t argue with me.”
I’m thinking through various people struggles I have had in my life. I wonder how many of them were because of MY ignorance. This is going to take a while.
Good luck on your journey!
Be where you are, be who you are,