| LOCATION: …relocated |
I told the universe, “I’m DONE.”
And I meant it. I had had an unexpected and painful parting of ways with a new love interest who was also an old friend. My 3-year relationship before that had ended only a few months earlier like the last air of hope leaving a slowly deflating balloon.
Then, a few days ago, I was out running in the July evening in my neighborhood when I paused to take a phone call from a client. As I spoke with her walking down a street I never take, I paused for a minute, standing in the road.
Focused on my phone call, my gaze moved unthinkingly down to the pavement around my feet–and I was caught! By what?– My brain registered tiny eyes looking up at me from a tiny body. A hummingbird!
I excused myself from my client and bent down, carefully reaching out to her. She didn’t flinch. I softly picked her up in my palm. She continued to gaze at me, her delicate body breathing the fast regular hummingbird pace.
Almost intuitively, I realized she’d been absorbing the heat from the concrete as the evening grew cool. Finding her that way, she seemed stuck, somehow. I gently closed my hand around her to hold in her warmth.
I immediately looked to the neighborhood. What would I do with her? That lightning quick calculation that I had to pause my life to renegotiate everything for her in the next few hours–the next 24 hours… and how long after?… To see to her care. I knew I wouldn’t just deposit her in a tree and hope for the best.
But I didn’t know what to do.
“Well she needs to eat, Carmell,” I said to myself. “Hummingbird metabolisms require constant food.” In a surreal shift of reality, I walked across the street and into the yard of an arts and crafts style home with beautifully manicured gardens hoping to find someone home who might help me.
Along the drive were golden trumpet vines in full bloom and I thought to stop. I held my tiny soft bundle up to a buttery yellow trumpet flower and silently gasped. Her little tongue extended faster than my eye could track, snaking into the depths of the flower and drinking, pulling back into her long thin beak, extending again and again.
I never thought of a hummingbird’s beak as ‘a beak.’ A beak seems like a much more substantial, possibly-dangerous-to-humans kind of appendage and this was so damn delicate!
She sat, a tiny raja on my palm as I lifted her from flower to flower to drink the nectar. I watched her in awe. “Oh my god, I’m holding a hummingbird as she feeds FROM FLOWERS?!?!!…” I mean, really! Five minutes ago, I was discussing training possibilities with a client for her team, getting my run in, and heading back home to an evening of work at my desk.
Now I was in a garden, holding a juvenile hummingbird, remapping my foreseeable hours and days to support the little life sitting in my hand, bright black eyes silently observing me.
I fed her sugar-water every hour through the evening and late into the night. She perched on my finger under the warm lamplight as I sat at my desk. I’d dip my finger into the ziplock of sugar-water and hold it in front of her waiting beak. Her impossibly long thin tongue continued to lick out and suck the nourishment from my finger.
I was captivated. Captive.
I named her Hummingirl Jane.
She sat on my desk that night for hours, looking up at me with clear dark eyes and utter trust. No creature I’ve rescued has looked at me like that.
I left her under the heat lamp for a few hours sleep, getting up to feed her and check on her. The next morning I carried her in her clean cardboard restaurant take-away box, into the bedroom as I was getting ready. She suddenly took flight! And my ceiling fan was on!! I panicked, turning off the fan and luckily catching her without injury. Apparently she could fly.
This was simultaneously relieving–and a nerve-wracking new development in her care.
My little companion, that day. Feeding her calmly as I sat in video sessions with clients; her sitting contentedly on my left index finger as I wrote client notes with my right hand. She preferred being perched there, little head darting back and forth, taking everything in.
My heart couldn’t help falling.
I had located Wasatch Exotic Pet Care. They would take her and give her the proper proteins a juvenile hummingbird needs, before handing her to Wildlife Rehab who would make sure she safely re-entered her migratory pattern, her free life…
I drove her there, that afternoon; beautiful tiny Hummingirl Jane.
For less than 24 hours, my whole world had changed… And my whole world changed in less than 24 hours.
When I picked her up, I didn’t know what to do, what she would require, how long I would be committing to… I had a choice then. And I carried her home.
At the counter in Wasatch Exotic Pet, I held her perched on my finger for longer and longer as she looked trustingly into my eyes. Even the vet techs commented on her total attention with me. My heart actually ached to let her go. It seems ridiculous, maybe. Except it’s true.
Her empty box sat on the car seat next to me as I drove home. And then life–as it was. But not me as I was. We don’t know how long some magic will continue with us. And we’ll never be able to calculate how we will be changed forever after.
Sometimes, Life relocates us.
I say, Let go. Be relocated. Be soft and captivated and lost and unknowing. Just… be there.