TO GLIMPSE A HUMMINGBIRD

I know I'm supposed to be impressed by the scientific advances mankind has made the past century or two and I'm supposed to be awed by the technological achievements of the past decade and I'm supposed to be wowed by the latest cell phone and the latest car off the line and the special effects on the silver screen, but, to tell you the truth, they leave me cold.

But something happened this morning that has left me warm. I was sitting on my front deck reading one of the world's ten greatest books when I heard a sound behind me, right behind my head, a sound like a motorboat engine, a sound that justified moving my attention off the great book. Though I was shocked for a moment I realized what it was that was vibrating behind me.

I happened to be partially under one of my wife's hanging flower baskets, the one with a geranium plant that's overflowing with starlike pink flowers. By cocking my eye to the left I could see the shadow the morning sun was throwing onto the facade of the house. There was the tumbling intricate filigree of the geranium leaves and there—there—darting from flower to flower—was the blurry gray shape of a hummingbird.

Slowly, as if I was a statue very slowly coming to life, I twisted my neck and tilted my head back. I saw the bird. Oh, so close. Reddish and green shimmering in the bright platinum light. Wings fluttering too fast to see their true form. With a thin beak poking into the boudoir of the flowers. Such poise. Such gentility.

In seconds it was gone. Gone off like a thought. Leaving me with the sense that, for some fleeting seconds, I had been blessed. Blessed by being allowed such closeness to the bird, yes, but more, more than that. A sense of being blessed by the living universe. And that is enough for me. That is everything to me.

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