It happened on Sunday morning. I was watering the plants on the hillside, using the “gentle shower” setting on the hose nozzle. I had a hot cup of coffee in my lobster mug in one hand and the hose nozzle in the other, and was still yawning and trying to wake up after a good night’s sleep.
Suddenly there was bright green flash by the side of my head that I saw from the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was a moth or one of Maine’s native flying insects. I would have tried to brush it away, if my hands hadn’t already been fully occupied. But then the green flash steadied in mid-air and stopped right in front of my face, and I saw to my astonishment that it was a tiny, bright green hummingbird, wings beating furiously and hovering just inches away from my head and hands. The bird seemed totally unafraid of me, no doubt reasoning that its rapid-fire reflexes ensured that it could dart away before this slow-moving human could do anything.
The bird stayed there for a split second, then began consciously eyeing the stream of water from the hose nozzle. It soon became apparent, even to my still sleepy brain, that the bird wanted water. I eased back a bit on my grip on the handle of the nozzle to make the “gentle shower” even gentler, and sure enough the little bird dipped down into the flow of the water, getting a good spritz and taking a drink, besides, with movements that were almost too quick for me to see with the naked eye. Its rapidly beating wings were no more than a blur.
It was a magical moment on a Sunday morning, and at first I was tempted to try to get my phone out of my pocket and take a picture, but my hands were full, I figured any movement would cause the bird to fly away, and I decided to just live in the moment instead of trying to take a picture of everything. So I stood as still as I could, kept the reduced flow of water constant, and hoped that my little bird friend could get its fill of the H2O. And a few seconds later, the bird emerged from the stream, flew up to eye level again, shook off a few water droplets, gave me a bright, bird’s eye glance, and then buzzed off at impossibly fast speeds in another flash of green.
The whole encounter happened so quickly that I almost wondered if it had actually happened — but it did, and the little details of my interaction with the tiny bird were thoroughly ingrained in my memory. Now I have a special incentive to water the plants, because I’m hoping to see my green pal again. And I think going out to get a hummingbird feeder might be a good idea, too.