Last weekend two things made me sad. I heard that Neil Armstrong died and so did one of my hummingbirds. Katie and I were sitting on the deck reading a book. Well. I was reading and she was napping. The hummingbirds were buzzing around, chasing each other away from the feeder. A female hovered right in front of my face and stared at me for a bit. I wasn’t sure how many hummers we had, they moved so fast; zipping through the trees, over the house, back again to the feeder.
When I got up to go back into the house Katie sniffed at what I thought was a leaf on the deck, but wasn’t particularly interested. I glanced over at the leaf and realized with a breaking heart that it was one of my hummingbirds. There was a tiny spot on the window, and the poor bird was lying dead on the deck. I was overwhelmed with grief out of proportion to my actual loss. I love watching my hummers at the feeder. They are there because I put the feeder there. This poor little female was dead because I put the feeder there.
I picked her up and stroked her soft feathers. She weighed nothing at all. But she was beautiful. The sun made her feathers glow, and I took her down the hill and put her on a nest of thistle fluff at the base of an oak tree along with a flower from the garden we passed. I wanted her feathers to glow with the last rays of the sun just a little longer. One last time.
I cried the whole time I mowed the yard.
When the sun slipped behind the trees I buried her, along with some flower petals and a bit of goldenrod, beneath our butterfly bush. That evening I sent her on her way and hoped she and Mr. Armstrong were both flying over the moon. The next day a male and a female hummingbird visited the feeder. I wonder if they miss her. I do.
Tonight as I watched the full moon swing up into the night sky I thought of them both. And I winked, just the way his family asked us to. God speed to you both Neil and my little one. God speed.