Autumn equinox has passed and the night lingers in my mornings. I am loath to disrupt the coziness of my little hobbit-house with bright electric lights; even PippinTook stays out of the blinds as our day begins. Orion has returned to usher us on our morning walks and this week I can barely see Pippin so that would mean it is Very Dark.
Pippin used to be an intermittent walking companion but since Tigger Linus moved to the city he has been glued to Gandalf and me and we all trundle out into the inky dawn. Gandalf now wears a dangly collar light; I was going to get plain white but multi-colored was on sale so we went big; the result is a kind of breakdancing disco firefly at the end of the leash. I would love to get a light for Pippin, too, but I am pretty sure he would not appreciate the visual and there would be bloodshed trying to get it onto him so he gets to go commando.
One morning last week I reluctantly emerged from my softly lit lodging for the walk before work and by the time we returned I noticed my gait was off. Having lived for years in worst-case-scenario I was pretty sure I was having a stroke and would be found in the street when it finally became light enough to see….nah…..it was just that my shoes were wearing out weirdly. I got the boys settled for the day, jumped in the car and drove to work. It wasn’t until I noticed the same odd step on my way in from the parking lot that I looked down:
Maybe I am the one who needs the dangly light!
With a trill and a blur he was behind me before I could look up from my coffee. Gandalf, Pippin and I were basking in the morning sun on the patio; the boys were having their first nap of the day and didn’t even twitch a whisker as our visitor whipped by. I turned and there he was, a male Broad-tailed hummingbird having a heyday in the hollyhocks. He visited most of my flowers, flew up to sit on a tree branch and glared at me, deploring the lack of a feeder in my yard. He sat patiently (as much as that word can be applied when speaking of hummers) in the tree until I put down my coffee and went off to dig the feeder out of the garage, then he sped off with a satisfied whir.
Within minutes of hanging it he was back and a few hours later there were three hummers zipping around like little TIE fighters from Star Wars. I never get tired of watching them and since my yard is small, I have a front row seat at this air show. Warp speed is the rule of the day and the “hover” is often accompanied by an energetic chippy chatter.
I used the zoom on my camera to get this shot (along with a bazillion others). Several years ago however, I had a few hours to spend and used that time to become part of a post next to a hummingbird feeder. Within thirty minutes of standing very still the hummers decided I was no threat and returned. The aerial acrobatics and dogfights resumed with vigor, making up for lost time. Holy cats, they were fast! They flew perilously close to my head; I thought I was going to lose an eye more than once and had to lean my head on the post to keep from reflexively dodging. I don’t know if they ever crash and burn but the next time I do this I might wear safety glasses. Really.
Hummer portrait from that day and yes, I was that close. Look at those tiny little toes!
Fast forward to this morning; it has been weeks since I started this post. The summer has been the best in years and I have spent every minute possible outside reveling in the peace and deliciousness of it all. We have now had our first frost, the days have gotten shorter and the TIE fighters have sped off to warmer galaxies.
Gandalf is waiting patiently for me to go outside; Pippin less so (he has been in the blinds once already). My boys remind me that remembering summer is nice but today is the only day we have so hit the *publish* button already and let’s go for a walk!