Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hummingbirds, by Gail Earl

Life is full of beauty and wonder. Here is a sweet story about Gail’s parents and their connection with one of nature’s tiny, beautiful creatures – and with each other.

Let me tell you that Hummingbirds have always been my parents’ things. They loved them. They had many decorations at each of their homes with Hummingbirds on them.

They had stained glass windows, garden birds, hummingbird coasters, books, photos and drawings. Every time they went anywhere, they would look for items with hummingbirds and bring them home as souvenirs.

My dad was very proud of his invention that had a small tuna can at the base of a bird feeder. The can was filled with ant poison that would prevent ants from crawling up the pole and drinking the brightly colored, sweet liquid.

Mom and dad lived in Palm Springs and spent many hours in their garden patio, eating all of their meals outdoors, watching the little birds . My dad would even name them and claim that he recognized each of them as they visited along side their breakfast table each morning. They truly looked forward to greeting them each day.

All of my parents’ friends knew of their love for the little critters, so they were gifted with many hummingbird items.

When my father passed away and the family was at Riverside National Cemetery for his services, a single hummingbird flew into our little shelter and presided over dads ashes. It was a moment in time that the entire group of family and friends took note of, loved and appreciated.

After dad died my mother moved to La Mirada. Mom still had a passion for the birds and always felt comforted when she saw one. She believed that it was my dad saying hello. She loved the little birds and watched them daily from her bedroom window.

There was a bottle brush tree with thousands of brightly colored brushes that was constantly alive with the hum of little birds. At any given time, you could see the flapping of little wings as birds flitted from one brush to the next.

Fast forward 15 years.  Mom was on her death bed. My sisters and I spent two months in her bed with her, helping her die. Mom cried a lot because death was taking much longer than she expected. She cried and couldn't understand why my father wasn't coming for her. She feared that he didn't want her any longer.

In one of those last difficult days, when we all needed it most, a cluster of 6 hummingbirds came from the tree, flew over about 10 feet to her window. They as a group began to tap their little beaks on the glass. They continued for over one minute.

The continuous tap, tap, tap startled us all. We were speechless and couldn't move. We were watching something that we could not explain. None of us have ever seen anything like this and still can't physically explain what would make a pack of 6 birds go to a window and in unison tap tap tap.

We definitely have our beliefs and that comfort brings smiles to our faces.