Thursday, May 20, 2004

On the deck...

Today has been a beautiful day full of clouds of all varieties, shapes, and sizes and now they're turning gray overhead and the sky, once a brilliant blue, is now white. More storms on the way or maybe just threatening intrepid beings daring to set out lawn furniture on their decks and enjoy the sunshine and the breezes. Me? I'm sitting at my desk finalizing web designs for Rose & Thorn, writing book reviews, cruising markets that include dollar amounts, browsing thru the virtual world of cyberspace, and taking more guff from my least favorite editor in chief who is determined to ruin my sunny and productive disposition. But she shall not win--not today. I feel like giving her the rough edge of my tongue and telling her to go find a large pointy object and insert it brutally and deeply into a nether region, but for now I'll refrain and keep my announcement of retirement from being her scapegoat and favorite whipping toy until a more opportune moment. Right now I have other things to think about.

Like the hummingbird feeder my father sent me.

I got the feeder a couple days ago and unpacked it yesterday. It had been hanging on one of the many trees in his sanctuary for many, many years. The ruby balloon-shaped dome was full of black smears that turned out to be flares of fungus, but I cleaned it out with soap and hot water (making sure to rinse out all the soap) while I boiled the sugar with some of my own well water to make syrup to pour inside. With everything done and reassembled, I hung the feeder on the deck and within minutes the hummingbird who dive bombs me when I eat or read outside came buzzing by.

Did you know hummingbirds sound like locust when they fly? They do. Surprised me, too, especially since I thought a locust was dive bombing the deck that first morning I ate lunch outside while I read a new book. I was shocked to find the buzzing at my ear was not a locust but a blue and green hummingbird about two inches away, hovering motionless in the air.

The hummingbird came back several times to sip the syrup, but after four visits he perched on one of the little plastic perches and drank deeply, reminding me of Norm guzzling beer at the end of the bar in Cheers. I didn't know hummingbirds ever stopped fluttering their wings except in their nests.

Not long afterwards, the hummingbird brought a friend and they sipped and stopped and guzzled and flitted off like emerald streaks. I think they're ruby throated hummingbirds and I seem to remember seeing a picture of them in some book by Audobon or someone. They are beautiful and interesting and so much fun to watch as they zip and hover and dive bomb each other and the deck every time they appear. Today was different.

While eating a belated lunch, after sowing 24 peat pellets with seeds, three hummingbirds appeared at the feeder, flitting, floating, zipping and zagging all over the place. They seem to love the fare here at Rocky Mountain Cabin and keep drinking until the sun dips below the horizon in a splash of blood. My landlords told me they haven't seen hummingbirds up here for years, in spite of putting out a feeder, so I wasn't expecting them. But I'm glad they came.

It's the little things, like seedlings poking green and yellow stems out of the dirt, magpies drinking from melting snow on the deck, and hummingbirds dog fighting over sugar water, that make life so enjoyable and interesting.

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