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Contributed by Pat O.

The Hummingbird


My partner and I once owned a home in the country in Nova Scotia. This story took place there.

It was a fine summer day. I had tended the garden behind the house all morning and worked up an appetite. I brought my tools into the garage, kicked off my clogs and removed my gardening duster, hat and gloves before entering the house. The kitchen was attached to the garage. I washed my hands and started to make lunch.

As I was about to eat I heard tat-tat-tat, tat-tat-tat. The sound was close by. Tat-tat. Tat-tat-tat. Sometimes it was three tats. Sometimes two or four. Sometimes they came swiftly. Other times the beat was slow.

I couldn’t locate the noise in the kitchen. I looked out the kitchen door window that lead to the driveway and an expanse of lawn. All quiet. Tat-tat-tat.  Tat-tat. Tat-tat-tat. The sounds were definitely coming from the garage and the beats were getting faster. I entered the garage.

At first I saw nothing. Then something tiny and colourful flashed to my left with swift bobbing movements. I turned to witness a ruby-throated hummingbird trying to escape the garage through a CLOSED WINDOW!!!!!!! Tat-tat-tat. Tat-tat-tat. The hummingbird kept ramming the window with his bill – as though he could get through the pane of glass. I turned and saw the garage car port door was completely open!!!!! Why didn’t the creature exit the way he flew in? Well – it was no time for questions. I worried the hummingbird would harm himself. The window he kept ramming couldn’t open.

At first I tried to guide the hummingbird towards the open door– hoping it would turn around and flee – but the little beast was determined to escape through the window and kept returning to it. I had no choice but to catch it. I put on my gardening gloves. It took several attempts to catch the wee thing. With every failed attempt I was certain he’d die of a heart-attack. I was scaring him beyond belief. Finally he was safely in the palms of my hands. I could feel his heart beating! I couldn’t feel weight – only the thumps of his heart. Within five steps we were out of the garage. I raised my hands and released the bird. He disappeared in a second. How my heart was beating! I wasn’t frightened but I hadn’t wanted to hurt the hummingbird.

I turned and noticed the bright red of the gasoline container we used to fill the lawn mower. Bright red attracts hummingbirds. My accidental guest must have been curious, discovered no sweet nectar and then noticed open country beyond the window. And then he panicked! I smiled at how much I had in common with the hummingbird. I have panicked when facing problems and not allowed myself to calm down, step back and discover solutions.

This happened almost ten years ago. I still feel the hummingbird’s heartbeats in the cup of my hands. I still see his swift escape into the sky. I never heard him say “thank you” but I’m certain he did. I’m thankful too. The hummingbird gave me the opportunity to help him. What a honour!

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