How does a Hummingbird help us to slow down?

Yesterday a teaching moment popped up just as I was preparing to relax, detach and do my favorite activity.


I had just gone up to the barn to visit and ride my horse. As I got out of the car I saw a friend looking intently at something cupped in her hand. It was a beautiful hummingbird that had been stunned. It lay motionless in my friends hand. At first it looked like a hopeless situation. There was absolutely no movement. Now a hummingbird is the closest animal to me in its constant movement.  From afar it looks like a frenetic bundle of energy, but anyone who has watched these beautiful birds know they are intent on a purpose and full of resolve. Their purpose is not random nor is their energy disorganized. I do not mean to suggest I possess a beauty close to that of a hummingbird but I do indeed have the appearance of an intense output of energy.  Seeing the bird motionless was quite disconcerting to me. I mean how could this hummingbird survive with no movement?

My friend encouraged me to keep a sense of optimism. Perhaps the bird just needed time to recover. Ten minutes turned into twenty with no movement, challenging not only the bird but also me. I sat next to my friend as she softly stroked the bird. Standing in the sun to warm the bird she directed me to create a bit of sugar water to attempt  to revive her. She pointed out to me that the bird was a girl due to her seemingly dull feathers. However, we both noticed a vibrant red below her beak, which shone through when the sun hit it just right. This was no dull bird. Hidden beauty shone through demonstrating a palette of beautiful feathers.  Had this hummingbird been on the move these colors would have been difficult to see.

After whatseemed forever the bird sputtered a peep-peep. She also flapped a wing and then returned to motionless. My friend and I looked at each other in deep resignation. Too much time we believed had gone by, leaving us with the distinct impression the bird was not long for the world. I spread my voice of pessimism to her suggesting it was time to move on and let this little bird go. Evidentially she half agreed relinquishing the bird to me as she went to get a box to place the bird in out of the way of harm. She came back with a box lined by a soft piece of tissue paper. She smiled and said “just in case”. I looked at her with the wise eyes of someone who has lived 20 more years than she has and responded with a look that said “well not much chance but do it if it makes you feel better”.

We placed the box in the back of her truck and went on with our afternoon. To be honest I forgot all about the bird as I rode my horse insanely around and around the arena. But not this friend of mine. The second she got off her horse she went directly to the truck and triumphantly held the empty box up with a knowing smile of someone who never gives up. Yes the bird was gone. She had flown away home.