It was simple:
I asked Lady Hedgebrook
to show me a sign that I still belonged
and she answered with
a baby hummingbird in the longhouse.
Somehow, he had lost his way,
chirping on the cold cement floor,
a confused pile of feathers looking for home.
I went into the farmhouse kitchen to get help.
Denise came to the rescue with a turquoise washcloth.
Wrapping it gingerly around the bird,
she picked it up gently
and placed it on a log in the sun,
peeling back the layers
of the washcloth delicately.
The baby hummingbird looked disheveled.
We called upon the restorative powers of sugar water,
feeding it to him in drops
that rolled carefully off a teaspoon.
At first, none of it went into his mouth.
It just dribbled in a pool on the washcloth.
Then, he opened his beak, just slightly.
Next, his tongue started to flick out the end of his beak
his eyes opened
and he was voracious,
slurping up the
water and sugar faster than I could replenish it.
The transformation was incredible:
from mottled mess to magnificence.
He straightened up and looked around,
untucking his right leg from where it was once hidden.
He stared at me as if looking for an answer
(or a question.) In awe of his resiliance, I offered:
“Do you want to try to fly now?”
He nodded almost imperceptibly, adjusted his wings
and flew off into the evening sun.