hummingbird, an anecdote | july 2022

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She returns annually, the hummingbird, perched on the nest situated atop the forgotten tree beside my townhome. This forgotten tree has not been trimmed for at least the three years she’s come to care for her nest on the thin branch that swings violently on the windiest days and cries a waterfall during the seldom rainy days of Southern California.

Unceremoniously, a trimming has been scheduled, precariously on a Saturday between the hours of too alert and little care, the afternoon.

shallow focus photography of gray and green bird on branch
Photo by Hunter Harmon on

This patio has not felt the rays of light for too many years, giving shade to the abundant snail community, driven out by the too-early spring showers. This patio has seen many footsteps, raindrops, slime, and little acorn droppings, but the sun is an old friend it had not seen in so long. There is life, and there is sadness.

It is said that a hummingbird or a bird, in general, cannot understand the concept of the loss of their nest immediately. It is also said that most birds mate for life. Thankfully, only one of these truths belongs to the mother hummingbird. But her life, as counted in the years of the untrimmed tree, is short. And the loss of the nest may haunt her through the remaining days of this season.

Character flaw learned from the hummingbird.

I am hyperaware of my strongest and most prevailing character flaw that has defined me my entire life. That is being a coward. The tough truth I’ve tried to fix continues to haunt me during moments I need my courage the most. I’ve always wondered why I could be a Gryffindor with such a fundamental flaw.

Then I remember Neville Longbottom and the forms of bravery available to an individual.

We are all lacking in one way or another or in more ways than one. There are reasons we strive to be better. These are the flaws that make us human, capable of sympathy and empathy.

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