In the slender shoulders of the myrtle tree
Outside my mother’s window, in the nursing home
All I could see was a group of beautiful hummingbirds
And a statue of Brother John
The birds were humming and the sun was bright
Oh what a beautiful, gorgeous sight
But there was one bird especially that caught my attention
She who was building her nests, so it seemed to me.
I believe it was in the month of April,
My mother had just gone to the nursing home
The month of April, May and June is the sexiest month, of the season
So this gave me good reason to believe that she was ready to release
The load she worked so hard to bed
At least these months were months of conceding for me
As I stood there and watched for a while
Listening to the other birds humming all loud.
I wonder if a one would come and join this hard working
Bird build her new home
But I was soon to find I was wrong.
As I sat there and watched the bud-bursting courtship displays,
I was afraid to move for I didn’t want to frighten that busy bird away
The nurse was busy washing mother after breakfast
something I should have been doing so you might think
Then my eye caught a flicker of motion outside,
And there she was, hovering uncertainly I knew without doubt
There was a young one waiting inside.
She held in the tip of her beak a wisp of wadded spider web
So tiny I wasn't even sure it was there, until her carefully
Smoothed it onto the branch.
She vanished then, and came right back
With another tiny white tuft that she stuck on top of the first.
As she worked her work of art.
The sun getting mighty hot
I watched her go back for more
Sometimes gone for more than an hour
But each time she returned
Her beak was full she took out not time for rest
As she worked in building her nest.
Again and again, increasingly confident of her mission,
Building up by infinitesimal degrees a whitish lump on the branch –
And leaving me plumb in awe of the supply of spider webbing
On the face of the land.
A material so thin
That it might never have been notice
Unless by accident
It was caught up in human hands.
I stayed at my post, watching everything as she came and went
I was amazed by all this small humming bird common sense.
I wheel mother over to the window and pointed up to the tree
I said Mama come look at this expecting humming bird with me.
When the lump had grown big enough - when some genetic trigger
In her small brain said, "Now, that will do" –
She stopped turned and looked at us hummed loudly
And turned gathering her thoughts I might say
And sat down on her beautiful new home,
Flapping her wings and tiny rounded belly to shape
The blob into a cup that would easily have fit inside my cupped hand.
Then she hovered up to inspect it from one side then the next
Over and over again once that, settled she waddled with greater fervor,
Hovered and appraised some more, and dashed off again.
Now returning with fine filaments of shredded bark,
Ms Humming bird worked on no matter how hot.
Which she wove into the webbing along with some dry leaflets
and a slap-dab or two of lichen pressed onto the outside for curb appeal.
I wondered where the daddy was dear
But she worked on and on into the morning
Doing what she knew to do
When she had made of all this a perfect, symmetrical cup,
She did the most surprising thing:
She sat on it, stretched herself forward,
Extended the unbelievable length of her tongue,
And licked her new nest in a long upward stroke from bottom to rim.
Then she rotated herself a minute degree,
leaned forward, and licked again.
As she turned and hummed at my Mama and me.
We watched her go all the way around,
licking the entire nest in a slow rotation
That took ten minutes to complete
Ending back at her starting point.
My Mama and I sit side by side
I watched the twinkle in Mama Eyes
As she wheezed my hand and said to me
God clothes all mothers with the wisdom to b
That which she could be
Wisdom the bird and my mother shared with me.
(one of four parts)