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  • Writer's pictureTina

Tiny Embers of Joy

The tiniest things are capable of creating the brightest sparks of joy. Although Memorial Day is the official unofficial start to summer, the true official pinnacle of summer for me is when my hummingbird friends return. Saturday night, as I sat on the porch watching evening close in, I saw the unmistakable flitter in the tree, heard the unique chitter and caught the fleeting sound of tiny wings fluttering at a million miles a minute. The bold little beauties buzzed across the porch as if to say, “Hello, I am here! Where are my feeders?” I immediately arose from my haze of relaxation and made hummingbird syrup so it would be cool for the next morning. The very next morning, before I began my day, the first thing I did was clean and fill the feeders. I sat quietly waiting for my tiny feathered friend to return but was disappointed. There would be no morning display of aerial acrobatics or tiny thrusts of power to see who would dominate the stained-glass feeders.

I would spend two more nights in vain, waiting for the colorful and emboldened aerial embers to return. Once they returned, it would be a hummingbird gathering of epic proportions. There is no social distancing with hummingbirds, they appear out of nowhere in tiny, colorful droves. There are six little males flitting about playing aerial kamikaze with their other male contenders. Although not as colorful, there are also a dozen or so females flitting about deciphering who is going to reign supreme and be the winner of her heart and nest.

There is one little male I would be willing to put money on, if I were a betting person. This guy is a bit smaller than the other males but his colors are unique and brilliant. He is a dark purple, almost black with a fiery red breast. He is beautiful, suffers from Napoléon syndrome, and quite the corker indeed. He thinks nothing of confronting the larger males and catching them off guard by knocking them off the feeder. It is indeed interesting to watch the dynamic play out and my secret hope is he wins the hearts of the ladies and has bold, beautiful babies like himself.

We spend our summer evenings watching the aerial soap opera play out. We name our hummingbirds using their appearance and personality quirks as our springboard. We have Napoleon, his arch nemesis Arthur, The Duke of Wellington, as well as Sir Sidney Smith, another historical rival of Napoleon. There was much debate about the theme for our hummingbird naming. I have told you Jordan is an old soul, she also displays stereotypical traits of an elderly lady. She loves to watch game shows, soap operas, and trashy talk shows. She won’t combine meat with dairy, likes to have dinner by 4, and shouts at the television when the protagonist of her show is in less than desirable circumstances…there’s a lot of shouting, it’s a soap opera, the circumstances are always dire…said with an exasperated eye roll. She wanted to name our feathered friends after characters on General Hospital…I didn’t even know it was still in production until she had her surgery and we spent hours together on the couch. I told her if she is going to watch soap operas, at least watch good ones like Days of Our Lives. Instead, we went the historical route and she now has to look up facts about Napoleon and his enemies. It’s silly, fun and lightly educational but it brings a smile to my face on a daily basis. We are anxiously waiting to see which female will be dubbed Empress Josephine. I will be sure to keep you posted.

Our hummingbird watch is a lovely distraction and a truly amazing display of nature. I hope you find tiny sparks of joy to keep you happily distracted. As always, stay safe, stay smart, look for tiny embers of joy, and wash, wash, wash those hands.

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