A Visitor

It was a glorious morning, the type of day that reminds me of why I so love living here. For so long the weather has continued to act like Winter: fog cloaking the hills, rain flowing down our driveway like a babbling brook. And it seems only days  ago that the last of the snow disappeared from the slopes of Anderson Mountain.

I was up at my regular time, sixish. I started the coffee pot, threw the ball for Lizzie for a few minutes, let Lefty and Goku out of the laundry room and took Lefty out for his morning constitutional. I picked up a dry cedar branch to shake at the colt–he’s been too aggressive lately, but he still gets to wander the yard at will. Then I returned to the kitchen to get my first cup. The house was still quiet, with nobody else up yet.

I practiced softly on my guitar for a few minutes: a little Django, a show tune or two, some flatpicked fiddle melodies and that old recurrent melody I’ve been shaping on the guitar. I heard movement as my son and wife got up. It felt a little warm in the Music Room, so I took advantage of the new doors we’ve installed. I blocked the cat and dogs in the dining room and threw open both the outside doors of the Music Room to let a breeze blow through. The sunlight was fantastic.

But I only had time for one chorus when my visitor arrived. Now we’ve had visitors before: human and otherwise. One day we found a pony standing in front of the piano, pretending to play. That’s where the image of a horse playing a piano came from in the animal jam session drawing I did fifteen years ago. This morning’s visitor came from the opposite extreme of the animal kingdom.

A hummingbird swept into the room, bent on flying straight through: in one door and out the other. Alas, it wasn’t to be. He kept a bit too far to the right, missed the opening on the far door, and got himself stuck behind the open door. He buzzed up and down the glass like a moth, resting occasionally on the lower sill.

I almost turned him out, but then I remembered that such extraordinary events need to be shared. I called in my family and retrieved our camera. We took a few shots of the visitor, but it was clear that he would quickly wear himself out. As he rested on the sill I coaxed him into my  hands. I’ve yearned to hold a hummingbird, and today I got to do it. I held him loosely, only long enough to take him around the door and  released him at the open door. He swept off across the lower paddock and disappeared over the trees.

We skipped church today. But our visitor was a sacred experience.


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