---Alice Abrams

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Lessons From a Hummingbird - - -

With a mind that tends to be "busy," I have always, unconsciously, found myself being "busy" with something to keep from feeling as if I were fragmenting.  I don't know how else to describe the feeling of being unable to just be "quiet."  I used to lie on the couch and read or watch The Tonight Show, or old movies....something that could hold my attention so I didn't feel as though I was on an out-of-control train approaching a trestle; or the feeling of being poised at the top of a roller coaster, just ready to begin that rapid free-fall, with your heart in your throat. 

Later, I learned to macrame, then on to embroidery, cross stitch, counted cross stitch (why I wear glasses!), and then I took art classes - oils, watercolor, pastels, acrylics; then on to stamping cards, scrap-booking, and altered art, and beading.  Now, can anybody guess?  Uh huh.  The computer is my current mood stabilizer. I can lose myself reading other peoples' blogs and working on my own. I can look at catalogs, read newspapers, play games, etc.

So you may be thinking, "Okay, we all do that or have hobbies, nothing strange about that!"  But here's the kicker:  I can stay up for hours reading, playing games, painting, wherever my current abstraction may take me.  I have stayed up reading until the sun comes up, or, yes, playing stupid games on Facebook.  I am horribly obsessive-compulsive. Having a mind so fixated on being quiet is only amplified and fixates on the quietness.  

Now to the hummingbird:  I have a feeder out on the back patio and love watching the hummingbirds come and hover, with those wings going a mile a minute, buzzing like bumblebees.  Last month, I welcomed a couple of Anna's Hummingbirds, who were quite territorial, flitting after each other, chasing and darting about.  We're down to one visitor now, so I guess dominance was determined!

I've been trying to get outside everyday for 10-15 minutes of sunlight after reading about Vitamin D.  It seems that popping a vitamin pill isn't quite the same as absorbing vitamin D through the skin.  So I've placed a chair outside so I can sit for a few minutes.  Sitting for 10-15 minutes without something to occupy my mind is not comfortable.  Sometimes I try to pray and my mind wanders, or I just daydream, but something pops in and jolts that trigger-happy brain to snap to attention.  

Okay, here we go back to the hummer.  This little guy - I'm pretty certain he's a guy because he has a beautiful iridescent magenta head! A glorious little creature!  He's accustomed to seeing me sit in my chair, and he'll come to the feeder just a few feet away.  Yesterday, I watched him feed then dart off to the orange tree which provides shade for the feeder.  He landed on a little twig and sat, appearing to watch me watch him.  After a little while of this he flitted back to the feeder for another dose of sugar water.  I know you've all seen them - their wings are almost invisible they move so fast!  Then, again, back to the little tiny branch he'd picked out on the orange tree.  This went on for maybe four or five times.  Then it hit me.

How much energy does it take for his little wings to keep moving?  So much that he constantly has to feed to keep up his strength.  When hummingbirds migrate during the fall, they find nourishment where they can along the way.  All the while, feeding and fluttering.  Do you see the picture I'm painting?  I spend so much energy just to keep my mind occupied - my wings fluttering - that I wear myself out.  Then I need to feed more, and more, and more.  

“Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).  This has always been a favorite verse of mine.  But, as you can see, being still isn't easy for me.  As I watched that little hummer I wondered if being still is knowing God.  As a creature of God, that's his appointed job in the universe, to pollinate flowers and plants along his migratory path.  He knows when to be still and he knows God.  

Today, I watched a woodpecker try his luck out on a palm tree, I fed and enjoyed our blue jays, and I watched the sweet little hummer just "being."  My mind was being still and I was learning more about knowing God and the peace he provides...


Anonymous said...

I like to keep myself occupied, too. I'm on the computer all day by necessity in my business. I also spend some time in the wee hours (like now!) doing things I enjoy, too. That's just the norm in the technology times we have nowadays.

I love watching hummies, too!

Big hugs :]

Traveling Bells said...

That's a powerful little sermon there, my dear. May be all share some of that stillness, and give thanks for our Creator for all things great and small.

Warm hugs, honey...

Sandee said...

That little hummingbird taught you so very much. I'm glad you were paying attention.

Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

Zane D. Clark said...

Our brains think that they are in charge and will fight to retain that belief. that is the reason we have so much trouble being still.

Stillness is a virtue, but our Puritan upbringing requires labor and perfection. when we think about stillness for stillness sake we find that it is big work and productive.

Callie Ann said...

Oh Sweet Gracie, I adore this post. Thanking you for sharing with us. This meant a lot to me... I so need that 15 minutes

Love ya Girlfriend of mine :)