Flash of Insight
My photography exhibit, “Focus on the Feminine,” was complete and on display, a major thirty-piece accomplishment, and I was tuckered when we arrived in Sedona last June for our Arizona retreat. “Rainbow Hummingbird House,” our home away from home, is blessed with four species of hummingbirds—but of late, the Anna’s had adopted us year ‘round, their calls magically ringing out all winter long. They really seemed to feel the place belonged just to them. I wondered if the little black-chinned hummingbirds had a chance any more, as I sat on the bank overlooking Oak Creek, needing to regain my energy. I gazed at Cathedral Rock, taking in its timeless, enduring presence.
As I relaxed, I suddenly realized just how weary I was. “Oh, God, I am really on empty.” came the prayer from my heart. At that moment, a tired-looking male black-chinned hummingbird landed on the little tuft of brown grass beside me, inches from my foot. All motion ceased as I held my breath. He didn’t seem to mind my presence. “He must think I’m just part of the landscape,” I mused; yet how could he possibly miss me, with my purple pants reminiscent of his gorget. Just then, as if with one motion, he gently lifted up and landed again—on the loose leather rim of my shoe (!).
I held my stillness. In what I experienced as an eternal moment, he sat there and looked up at me, his beak turning from side to side as he scanned the heavens, all the while flashing his incredible purple gorget. In another flash, I thought of the teaching of a Navajo woman I had met; that when a wild creature comes to you, it doesn’t just “happen”—the event has meaning; each animal brings its own special message.
“What are you saying to me, little one? What is it you want me to know?” And in another flash, I intuitively knew. It was as if he said to me, “I know what it’s like to be on empty…you’re not alone…and I’m not alone…we’re in this together!” (Amazingly, just two weeks before, my husband had founded the Hummingbird Society, “to keep the world safe for hummingbirds.”)
Had the hummer stayed on my foot longer, he could have bathed in my tears that were starting to flow in gratitude for his trust; but at that moment the Anna’s relinquished the feeder, and my black-chinned friend flew over and drank and drank, filling his tank. And then he was gone, as quickly as he had come, but not without leaving behind an important gift—the gift of understanding that I had gained from the exchange
I was still visibly moved when my husband returned from his camera-in-hand walk. I relayed my “happening” of how the black-chinned had landed on my foot, just right there! Just a moment ago! He gave a suitably awed response: “Really!” “Wow…Did you get his picture?”
“No—well, yes, in my heart—a ‘forever’ snapshot.”
The next day, Sedona being the unique place that it is, I met with a woman and was impressed by her strongly intuitive nature. She knew nothing of the factual content of my life, or my experience with the black-chinned, but to my delight she made the following surprising comment: “I can’t explain it, but I feel the presence of a hummingbird around you—in fact, I sense a lot of hummingbirds around you!!” A slow smile formed across my face, and I felt a smile deep inside me. “Yes,” I thought. “Yes,” I replied, “they’re my friends.”