Our backyard critters were unusually quiet, save for the Monarch butterflies that drifted through the milkweed, laying eggs, and the honeybees that swarmed the birdbath.
Hummingbirds performed aerial feats against a backdrop of shimmering palm fronds. But they eventually called it quits, and retreated to the leafy shade of our Brazilian Skyflower.
A lizard skittered across the blistering concrete, looking for a dark, cool place to nap.
It was unseasonably warm, and the afternoon breezes did little to cool things down. But the blazing sun is fading now, ever so slowly. A warm glow has fallen over the neighboring hillside, and temperatures are dropping.
Little wings flutter Morning starts with eyes smiling Birdbath needs filling. ~Ormond
I had my doubts, but our burbling fountain is already attracting hummingbirds. Goldfinches, too! I snapped these photos through our backyard slider, so as not to interrupt their private bath. Can you spot the bird behind the lemon tree leaves, patiently waiting her turn?
Red’s not my favorite color, but our backyard fountain draws quite a crowd. And lucky me, I have a front-row seat to sweet moments like these, all day long.
The light falls slant on my front yard fuchsia, casting a warm glow over the hummingbird nest. It’s cloaked in shadows for most of the day, but this is the bewitching hour.
I climb the ladder I’ve positioned earlier—a bridge between mama hummingbird’s world and mine. Carefully, so I don’t disturb the nest or its inhabitants. Cautiously, so predators won’t track my movements.
“Hello, Luna,” I whisper.
Mama Hummingbird tilts her head toward the sound of my voice. She tracks me with her bright, round eyes, but even when I raise my camera—slowly, so as not to startle her—she rests peacefully on the nursery she’s built for her babies-to-be. We observe each other quietly, taking the measure of each other’s essence. And then suddenly, she zooms toward the nectar-rich flowers behind me, a flash of iridescent wings and feathers.
Two alabaster eggs, smaller than Tic-tac mints, are nestled into the bottom of her little jewel box. Such an honor, to be entrusted with these tiny treasures!
On closer examination, I realize there are three!
This is one of those serendipitous moments I live for–when I find myself in nature’s sanctuary, bearing witness to something as magnificent as this. Something as rare as a Super Blue Blood Moon, or perhaps three, pearlescent hummingbird eggs. A still, small voice says “Look!” And when I soften my gaze, the veil between heaven and earth is lifted.
I’m settled into my backyard glider, watching the hummingbirds sip nectar from native wildflowers and then zip across the sky.
Earth Day is tomorrow, I just remembered, and I’m hosting our Art Challenge on this blog.
But first, I will watch the sun slant through the palm trees, and listen to the sparrow’s lullaby. I am a child again, sitting in my Nana’s porch swing and blowing dandelion wishes into a rainbow-sherbet sky.
We’re so easily distracted, all of us. We lose sight of what’s important, ignore our inner longings. Hence, these monthly Art Challenges!
I like best that they invite me outdoors–playful spirit at the ready, all senses engaged.
Like tiny seedlings, our prompts are rooted in the things that matter most. Our environment, for instance, and the beautiful creatures with whom we co-exist.
We’re a diverse group, amateurs and pros who express ourselves in different ways. Using a monthly prompt as our muse, we come together in the name of “art.”
These challenges aren’t a competition, by any means. Participation is our goal, not perfection. It’s all about capturing a fleeting memory, exploring our passions, renewing our childlike sense of wonder, and yes! making a joyful noise.
It’s about storytelling, in words and pictures–being transported to another time and place, or finding our way home.
For this art challenge, we’re showcasing our beautiful home, in all its glory.
Let’s get this party started, shall we? Some artists will lag behind, but no worries: That’s what comes of being members of a global community. Take the tour when you’re able, and then return for another visit!
Gallery of Artists (with links to their Earth Day entries):
As long as the hummingbirds had not abandoned the land, somewhere there were still flowers, and they could all go on. -Leslie Marmon Silko
Welcome to the world, little hummingbird hatchlings!
Aren’t they cute? Well, okay, they’re in that awkward state…bumbling and naked and temporarily blind. But if you close your eyes and think hummingbird, can you visualize the possibilities?
Given their wrinkled, raisin-y state, I suspect the first egg hatched on Friday and the second hatchling followed suit on Saturday. Just think: As these tiny creatures performed their quiet bit of magic, the Women’s March was unfolding on a very grand scale!
If my math calculations are correct, and the magic holds, these hatchlings will become iridescent-feathered, gossamer-winged fledglings by Valentine’s Day.
Speaking of which: I’ve named them after my dear friend Carl and his wife Mary– lovebirds who were married for 58 wonderful years before she passed. Hummingbird images appear in several cultural traditions–symbols of devotion and joy, the stitching together of heaven and earth–so this seems to me a wonderful way to commemorate their enduring relationship and eternal love.
P.S. Rest assured, I use my zoom lens to gather these snapshots. I would never touch the hummingbirds or their nest! I observe and record them from a respectful distance…