I was sitting in my backyard, in a fire-red plastic Adirondack chair, beseeching the light blue sky for a sense of connection. Lately, I have been feeling
It waxes and wanes, I suppose. At times, I am feeling energetic and lively, light and grateful, easily appreciating the magic in life (even in the everyday mundane). Then the cycle dips, and I feel the inertia setting in. I fumble through the day, feeling dazed and apathetic, or more extremely, irritated and angry. I will lose myself in a book, maybe, but I mostly daydream about all the things I would be doing if I didn’t have to (literally) be wiping my son’s butt or pulling my dog away from nipping at the boys for the upteenth million time. I sigh a lot. Then its back to dreaming about the White Sands of New Mexico, the spiritual retreat in September I long to (but will never) go on, the exotic places I want to visit, or the next holistic healing session I’d like to have. Sometimes it’s as simple as wishing I had a day, OK, even half a day!, to drink some tea and write, unstressed and uninterrupted, in my pajamas because I chose to, not because I didn’t have any time to take a shower that morning.
During my “down dip” in the cycle, I often find myself childishly testing the universe. I have witnessed some miracles sitting, meditating in my backyard, and every once in a while I want a reminder it was real. Immature, addicted me, like a junkie. Hooked on miracles. Guess it could be much more destructive, like, say actual cocaine or heroin. Hmm, maybe being obsessed with Spirit is not so unhealthy after all. It just makes me feel weak, to crave outward manifestations of the Divine so frequently.
My tests are absurd, usually. Demanding. Like now. “Angels (God, Jesus, Mary, Mary Magdalene, gods, goddesses, archangels, ascended masters, fairies, light beings, ANYONE!), give me a sign. Make a vulture (hawk or eagle, some big bird) fly right across this patch of sky I am staring at,” I pray. Then I wait. And feel foolish that I am requesting something so ridiculous from the ether. Nothing instantaneously happens, of course. Whatever. Silly, needy girl I am. Then,
a vulture. Soaring right across the patch of sky I am staring at. Coincidence? Maybe. But I’ve asked for similar scenarios (frivolously and impetuously) before (yes, I have), and it always happens.
Am I satisfied? Oh no, of course I am not. I need more. Another hit. “OK,” I say, “was that a figment of my imagination, a funny co-inky-dink, or not? Send me another message, another sign, as a symbol of connection.” I wait and wait, eagerly looking around me. Nothing. Another sigh. I close my eyes. Pop them open. There in the branch, right above my head, is a hummingbird. I don’t know how I even spied her amongst the leaves, but my eyes went right to her. Three feet above my head. A symbol of Joy! (something I am sorely needing)
She hums over to the red bee balm I have recently planted, which I have grown to love in all of its disheveled and bewildered splendor. Mostly because it has brought these delightful, tiny birds to my backyard. I marvel at the hummingbird’s movement (a female ruby throated hummingbird, I concluded, after consulting my guide book). She flits, so crisply. Drinks. Moves sharply, linearly to the flower to her right. Drinks. Darts to the safety of the lowest branches of the nearest tree. Takes off, dips over the fence to the neighbor’s tree.
I am feeling bold. Or maybe skeptical. Or maybe particularly needy. I decide to push even further. I am going to try to get the hummingbird to come closer to me (again, pleading for proof of connection with the universe, so immature: “If you really ARE, if you really love me, you will guide that hummingbird right back here, and not just to my backyard, but to my HAND. Hmmmpf!”). I had read online that hummingbirds are not that afraid of humans, and that you are able to hand feed them if you are patient enough. I vaguely remember a video of a nature center or aviary with people sitting, holding out red glass tube feeders full of nectar, and hummingbirds flying right up to them, drinking from the feeders in their hands. I pluck off a bee balm bloom (ouch! sorry plant-y, it’s to lure the hummingbird!), and go back to my chair. I realize I have a red dress on. Red chair, red dress, red flower. Hummingbirds love red. A hummingbird was just here. I feel confident; my odds are good. It just might work.
As I sit channeling St. Francis, I think of my latest encounter with a wild baby bunny. I had seen him in the backyard over the past few weeks, so fuzzy, teensy, and cute. I had even watered him by accident, as he hid under the lily leaves, darting out drenched and scared, sliding through the fence boards to escape my hose. I had also unknowingly unleashed my hound on him a couple of times, opening the back door before looking, watching her charge after this small – yet fast! – young, creature, shouting “no!,” willing it to slip through the fence again. It always did. I would leave lettuce leaves and strawberries in the backyard for it, maybe as a peace offering, mostly as a way to keep him coming back. I checked the window often, hoping to see him nestled in the clover, chomping. I never minded if he took a couple nibbles of my flowers, either. He was too adorable.
Watering (again) one day, I noticed him on the other side of the fence, watching me. Instead of freezing and running away, he hopped closer. It seemed like he was about to come see me! I was astounded that A. he saw me and “recognized” me B. that he didn’t run away, considering I had given him two showers already, and my dog had chased him several times now, and C. that he wasgettingevercloser. Of course, at that moment, the back door banged open, and out bounded my boisterous boys. Bunny wasn’t sticking around for that.
I thought I’d do an experiment, though, one night when he was in the yard again. I walked outside with a lettuce leaf and sat down in my chair, hand with said lettuce leaf hanging motionless, touching the ground. The bunny dashed away. I waited. He came back. Did bunny tricks. Hopped towards me, fast. Hopped high. Hopped in circles. Flashed me his cotton tail. Ate some grass. I didn’t move. I just marvelled at the sight of Mr. Adorable. He inched closer. Then he hopped under my chair. I could hardly contain myself. “He’s going to take the lettuce!” I thought excitedly. But instead, little baby pushed his furry bunny face right into my fingers! Then he scampered away, and did a SUPER high jump! Woo hoo! What a brave rabbit! What an amazing encounter!
I was snapped out of my reverie by the return of the hummingbird. I grew still, shaking the stalk of the flower I was holding ever so slightly, to get Ms. Hummingbird’s attention. Would she notice me? After drinking from a few flowers, she flew right towards me, then swooped up to the branch directly over my head. I leaned my head back slowly; tilted it upward. There she was! I froze. She hummed down, right to the flower in my hand! She hovered. Was this really happening? I knew it was what I was trying to do, what I had been so brazenly asking for, but I couldn’t believe it was actually HAPPENING! I made the mistake of lifting my head from the chair to get a better view (why?! what was I thinking?? to get a BETTER VIEW of a hummingbird six inches away?! oh lord!). Ms. Hummingbird hovered for another second, and zoomed away. WOW! I somehow knew she wouldn’t be back, and although annoyed at myself for moving my head, I was in genuine awe over what just transpired.
Some still might say, “Ah, just dumb luck.” Or, “Yeah right, this chick’s a cuckoo.” Or, “Cool encounter!” “Good story!” But I was boldly testing the Divine, remember?
She passed. The results?
I AM loved. I AM connected. And if I need a vulture to fly overhead, or a hummingbird to visit my flowers as a reminder, so be it. It satiates my soul. Buoys my heart, so I can sail through
bath time. Again. But joyfully, tonight.