Hummingbird Miracle #sol20
My friend Tammy is off on a cross country camping adventure but before she left she said she was going to try and document random acts of kindness on her journey. True to her nature she found one before she even left town and posted a quick photo and caption on her instagram page. My virtual friend Alaina Sharp started a daily podcast called teacher pep talks. They really are Pep Talks. What am I doing? I’m… worrying… about lots of things, but my CT writing friends are encouraging me to look for silver linings and daily miracles. Here’s a little story about a non-school miracle with perhaps some implications for all of those worries I am carrying around and what I might try next.
I thought hummingbirds were reserved for National Geographic and Ralph Fletcher’s instagram and then… I started seeing them every now and then. Outside my living room window, there’s was one hovering as if to say hello. While I was lingering on my garden bench, one hovered so close I could hear that whir of her wings beating. Stopping by the cup flower in the flower bed or the hydrangeas, I began seeing lots of hummingbirds.
I began mentioning these sightings to my husband, my sons, and then to that friend, Tammy. Tammy, full of great ideas, said, do you have a hummingbird feeder? Sometimes the skeptic I said, do those work? In her magical Maine house, she was drawing hummingbird to a feeder routinely, so I thought, why not? Twenty dollar or so experiment in my quarantine world, I’ll give it a go.
Off I trudge to the hardware store and purchase a hummingbird feeder that looks like a very tacky red plastic flower and some equally red sticky liquid to fill it. I locate this feeder on a forgotten flower hook rummaged from the garage and hang it right outside my bedroom window. Honestly, I wasn’t anticipating any success.
But then, a small miracle. As I walked by that large bedroom window throughout the day or sat at the small table and chairs on the deck nearby, hummingbird began to come. At first, they dropped by quickly, taking a drink and then buzzing off. Slowly over weeks, they came more and more often and stayed longer. They perched on the flower hook. They perused the window box hung on the porch rail. They sampled each of the tiny red plastic flower openings for that apparently nectar for hummingbird.
Those hummingbird became the highlight of this long and sometimes difficult summer. Each time I saw one I was just as delighted as the first time. Our tiny hummingbird miracle?
What could this experiment in hummingbird attraction teach me about my worries and my path forward?
First, I noticed something that I wanted to attract, to know more about. In another instance, it might be an idea, a book, a person, a resource.
Then, I talked about it with more than one person. I grew my idea as we would say to the students. My husband had ideas. My sons had ideas. Tammy had ideas. Google always has ideas. Those people had lots of great ideas!
I considered all the ideas. Would these work for me? What would be the cost of trying? Did I have the right equipment?
I consulted. It wasn’t much of a consult in this case, but in others it might be. I found the aisle at the store. I googled what might work best. I did my research.
Then I tried something. I didn’t have unrealistic expectations for what might happen. I did keep my hopefulness high. I positioned that feeder in a place where I would see the success if it happened. Sometimes I am not so good at that step as a coach.
Then I enjoyed success and shared it. I pointed it out to my family. I talked about it with my friends. I spread that idea around.
It’s funny. I was buying a bird feeder the other day in the hardware store and a worker came up to me. Have you tried one of these things? he said to me motioning to the hummingbird feeder. I have.
My wife and I haven’t had any success.
Keep trying, I said.