Hummingbird on the Wind

Sarah Thomas


© Copyright 2023 by Sarah Thomas

Photo by Robert Thomas at Wikimedia Commons.
Photo by Robert Thomas at Wikimedia Commons.

In Texas, Spring is a brief and unpredictable time. Winds blow and rains come, or a drought comes, and sun bakes or northern breezes blow in and chill us for short return of winter. You wake up every day unaware of what may have occurred overnight; unless you stick close to the weather app on your phone or watch the weather channel. If a big ‘weather event’ is coming through my mom usually lets me know via text message. She lives less than a mile from me, so we pretty much have all the same weather.

One spring a few years ago now, I was pregnant with my fifth child. My other children were 8, 6, 4 and 2 ˝ years old at the time. We homeschool so there was no morning rush. It was just “get your chores done, get your breakfast, get dressed (or you know, don’t) and for the older two, get some math done, first thing.” The children were at various stages of going through these motions of the daily drudge when I opened the front door wide exclaiming the beauty of the day and the pleasantness of the air. It felt so good. I had to open the house up. Like an old coat in the back of the closet or a book left too long on the shelf, it just needed air, and so did I. I was nauseous, a lot. The smells of my kitchen, refrigerator, pantry and bread box (especially that bread box) all made me gag. So, in an impulse after smelling that fresh air I opened all the windows and doors I could.

The best spring days are the ones that have a cool breeze with sunshine and enough cloud cover that you won’t burn, even if you work outside in the garden all day, like you could never do in summer. The kids will play in the yard. We will take out the picnic blanket for lunch. It’s warm but not hot and the breeze might often be a bit much, but not on this day. This was a truly perfect spring day. The kitchen was dirty, the house was a mess, but the sky was blue with puffy white clouds and the air was so fresh it made you feel new just by opening the front door. Now, it’s not good for the house, my husband will say, (HVAC and all) but the flies and mosquitoes weren’t bad yet in March and on a day like that I just can’t help myself but to open the front door of my little farmhouse and let that wind blow out all the stale air and stale moods.

The kids were mulling about getting breakfast and chores going. I stepped out into the yard to water plants and piddle around hoping to give my nausea some relief. I was doing something, I don’t recall what, when my oldest ran out of the front door to call out to me.

Mom, there’s a hummingbird IN the house, and its stuck! It can’t get out!”

Oh, neat honey,” I said the novelty of the situation wasn’t totally lost on me but I was vaguely annoyed at the interruption.

Don’t worry, I’m sure he will find his way back out.”

No! Mom! He’s stuck. He keeps trying to go out the window, but he can’t!”

Now I was concerned. My childhood home had a sunroom that my mother used as her art studio, and I had seen birds die or stunned trying to fly through those windows. So, I huffed that I was coming, and I walked up the small hill our house sits on. As I walked inside the house, my eyes followed my ears to this perfect little bird who was hovering in my living room. He was humming, shinning, emerald-green, with a ruby throat, wings moving so fast you couldn’t see them move, just the impression of where they had been. I couldn’t help but to smile at my son.

Wow, isn’t he beautiful?” I said in true delight. His grin mirrored my own.

OK, Let’s try to gently push him towards the door,” I said.

As we did this, I watched the tiny creature, feeling my heartbeat increase as if trying to keep up with his tiny rapid one. He was breathtaking, so perfect and clean, not a feather out of place. The sound of the humming filled my ears and our small open-concept home. He darted from the corners of the home with windows, from the living room to the dining area and back around in a circle. He avoided the side of the house where the door was open to our covered porch because there were no windows that way. He was staying in the light.

He must have been getting tired and my scheme of pushing him like a herd animal was not working. He was hovering in the bright light of the dining window. It was open, but there was a screen and he bumped against it a few times. This made me nervous for him. I told my son to stay back, so not to startle him. I attempted to walk up to him without much of a plan. He seemed panicked and I felt for him. I wanted to help.

I walked very slowly up to the window where he was hovering, arms outstretched to keep my balance, almost looking like a bird myself. To my great astonishment that bird accepted my help. He landed on my outstretched right-arm. I froze. I needlessly whisper-screamed to get my son’s attention. He was already watching. He looked as surprised as I felt, mouth gaping wide open. Both of us had eyebrows arched and grinned speechless.

I’m going to try and walk him to the door, really slowly.” I whispered. My son nodded in understanding.

I made my way very slowly towards the door, heart racing and thumping loudly in my ears. My daughter walked in the room and my son whisper-shouted to explain. I focused on not startling the bird but first I caught that same look of amazement on her face. I tried to appreciate the beauty of the small creature up close. It was so small. It was hard to believe that it was as complex a creature as a bird. It seemed more likely to be a large bug, like a moth. The color so brilliant, like everything around him had been black and white and only now had I seen true vivid color. I was so afraid he would flit off again in a moment before I reached the door. Then the cycle would start over again, but he did not. He stayed there resting trustfully on my arm, heaven knows why. Just as I got to the doorway, I turned my arm out so he would find the sky and he did. He took off into the pleasant, mild spring wind.

Sarah Thomas and her husband are raising their children on a small farm in coastal Texas. She spends most days homeschooling her five children. Sarah loves to grow veggies for her family and friends and flowers for herself and the bees.

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