Several years ago my regimen included an almost daily 3-mile run on the well maintained natural grass turf of the University of Texas’ Intramural facility. It was a particularly hot day in June just before my birthday. The mercury stopped rising at 105 degrees. I got back to my place dehydrated on the inside and soaked on the outside. Re-hydration was essential. I selected a pair of large San Pellegrino fizzy waters from the fridge and made for the back yard where I planned to water a good part of it with the fluids my body was shedding. The first bottle did little more than get the process started. Clad only in a pair of running shorts, golf sock, a pair of reflective sun glasses and my running shoes I stood there in the shade of a copse of trees that lived there long before I did.
As I waited for my pours to quit pouring I noticed a hummingbird flitting about in the trees. I remained still so as not to disturb it. I’ve marveled at their ability to defy gravity and watch them often in the back yard aviary. On this particularly inhospitable day I was poised to share a unanticipated spiritual moment – I was about to dance with a hummingbird. I named her Rose.
Rose took note of me; perhaps it was the reflective sun glasses or the sweat running down my chest. I certainly was no flower…unless you consider stink week a flower. As I stood there watching, Rose descended from treetop level to a level just above my head. She unabashedly moved toward me and hovered eye to eye at a distance of three to four feet. I fully expected her to flit off at any moment, but she didn’t. Rose circled me at a constant distance taking it all in. Do hummingbirds smell I wondered – no silly, not do they have body odor, but do they have a sense of smell?
I had carefully removed the sun glasses as she completed her orbit and now looked her eye to eye. She was unfazed. As would any proper dance partner after a trip around the hard woods she curtsied. That’s right she curtsied. Rose first dipped down a couple of feet and then Rose rose a couple of feet above my head. One more eye to eye look and she retreated to a high branch on the pecan tree. I took a long drink from the bottle and realized that I had not offered her refreshment. She flew from the branch and buzzed me, circled and flew off to her next encounter leaving me filled with a sense of wonder.
We, upon occasion ask for a second chance thinking all the while that the second chance should be kind for kind. Maybe, just maybe, it doesn’t work that way and maybe – I just danced with my sister Rose that one last time.