A buzzing sound, like a big insect, precedes a rapid decent, as the hummingbird dives at the fire bush that stands about two feet off the ground. Hovering, its beak enters the fluted depths of the tiny red flowers that cover the spindly branches. Now we can see the red throat and green body as its wings beat rapid figure eights. A new world bird, found throughout the Western hemisphere, its greatest migration is from mid-July or early August through September. It flies backward, forward, up and down, from side to side, ever seeking out nectar to satiate its need to keep flying, its energetic quest to sustain itself.

The humming bird is a bird, not an insect. Its tiny feet, too small for walking, perch on the edge of the smallest branch. Its tremendous will to live belies its delicate frame. Why do we think we are so unlike animals and that our lives have a purpose beyond survival? That our every movement is not just sustaining life, for no other reason than sustaining life? Are our accomplishments or non-accomplishing anything more than that? Why do we delude ourselves by thinking that they have any more meaning than that of the hummingbird that beats its wings furiously, intensely using up the energy it has to work so hard to maintain. We interpret its tiny body, bright colors, attraction to flowers, ability to hover as meaningful, joyful, life affirming, light. But it only persists because it has to, it has no choice, and neither do we.

 

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