Sugar water and patience
"The daily hummingbird assaults existence with improbability."
~ Ursula K Le Guin (American writer and poet)
Each morning, I open the blinds and sit on our couch to sip coffee and read or journal. Orange-red rocks cover the ground. The trees at the neighborhood park are visible just above the block wall which is painted a soft white. Once a year, the vines bloom with yellow flowers for a few weeks, adding some bright yellow to the desert-colored landscape visible through our sliding glass door.
This spring, I found myself longing for a bit more color and hoping to draw some hummingbirds to our yard. I'd seen them darting through the local parks, but I wanted them to join me for my morning coffee. So, I bought a hummingbird feeder. It was beautiful - an elongated glass sphere painted with swirls of green, blue, and red. On each side of the base was a plastic red flower and a tiny perch. I hung it on a stand a few feet away from the back wall of our yard. And I waited.
I sipped coffee in the mornings. No hummingbirds. I left the blinds open and wandered by several times each day, but no birds gathered to sip the sugar water I made carefully every few days to ensure that it was fresh despite the hot weather. Where were they?
Even before hanging the feeder, I made several changes to our yard. I placed a colorful outdoor rug on the patio and pulled out the small table and chairs that had been stored in the garage. I added garden decorations - turtles, frogs, and fairy figurines to create a sense of whimsy and magic. I placed solar lights around the perimeter of the yard which created pretty patterns on the rocks when the sun went down. Directly under the feeder, I placed colorful cloth flowers, hoping that perhaps they would draw the birds close to the feeder to investigate.
Still...no hummingbirds. But I didn't give up!
I went online and researched how to attract hummingbirds. One important thing I learned was that the wind-powered metal spinners that I'd placed in the yard were potentially scaring them away. So, I removed them and gave them to a friend. I tried using pre-made hummingbird food from a local nursery, just in case they didn't like my homemade sugar water. I also started looking at different hummingbird feeders, wondering if something about the one that I'd picked was offending their delicate sensibilities.
I was getting impatient and growing tired of making sugar water every few days for no apparent reason
So, I reached out to an expert - our neighbor next door had at least a few hummingbirds in his backyard. He spoke to them as he gardened and they followed him around as he watered plants. One bird even took up residence in his front entryway during the midday heat, so he set out a small bowl of water for it each day. At first, he told us just to be patient, but then a week later, he came over with a couple of potted plants - a Hummingbird Trumpet with yellow-orange flowers and a purple Bougainvillea. We placed them within a few feet of the bird feeder and went back to watching and waiting.
And then it happened! The next morning, a hummingbird zipped over the wall and sipped nectar from one of the trumpet flowers and then landed on a perch to sip sugar water. I squealed with delight and called my husband in from the other room to see our first tiny visitor.
Since then, we often see two or three of them at a time. There's one who likes to sit in the tree above the feeder. I've taken to calling him 'Slim Shady.' There's another who often sits on the perch for several minutes at a time. These two seem to get along well and take turns sipping sugar water (which turns out to be the best nectar after all). There's also at least one other who likes to dive bomb the feeder and try to chase the others away, but so far they seem to be doing a good job of defending "their feeder."
The hummingbirds in our backyard are a source of daily joy. I smile each time I see them flitting about our yard. I leave the blinds open all day now so that I can admire their speed, agility, and bright colors.
This morning, I sat down with my journal and a strong cup of coffee. I found myself reflecting on how many times I've had to create the right circumstances to draw something of value into my life. Often, I've had to practice patience and make small changes and learn more and try something different and keep hoping. I've always been good at achieving goals, especially those that where I have at least some control over the outcome. However, sometimes there are aspects of our goals and aspirations that are not in my control. For example, I can't force hummingbirds to come to my yard. Well...I suppose I could catch them and keep them in a cage...but that would eliminate their freedom and diminish the delight of seeing them flit about and show up at unexpected moments.
Much is out of my control, but there's also much that I can do to attract beauty into my life. Or success. Or happiness. Or connections with others.
Life, much like attracting hummingbirds, often requires creating the right circumstances for what I desire. I don't have control over every aspect, but I can make subtle shifts that align with my intentions. It's about cultivating patience, perseverance, and the willingness to adapt. I'm grateful for the hummingbirds in my back yard. Observing them brings a sense of wonder to my day and reminds me that small changes - and a bit of patience - help to create space for extraordinary things to show up in my life.