Fountain“Do you want to come outside with me?” asked my husband.

My rule is that if I’m on the computer and doing anything other than actively writing, I will stop the video, or podcast or reading and get up and go outside.  I made this rule awhile ago when I realized that I was missing out on “actual” life in exchange for something that could wait on the computer.

Anyway, he asked, I got up and walked outside with him.  We wandered around down near the front of the property, trying to figure out where to plant the cork bark fir that I got for our living Christmas tree this year.  Its home is still undecided.

We wander around to the back labyrinth, he turns on the pump for the beautiful three-circle fountain he made for me, and we sit on the bench and listen to the water and the wind in the trees and the birds, watching the dog as she settles into a spot on the maiden spiral, somewhere around age 8.

“Have you seen any birds drinking from or bathing in the top of the fountain, Nancy?”

“Nope, but then I’m not always out here.” I replied.

We sit.  We watch.  I notice over by the water spigot that a small bird is fluttering in to get some water, so I carefully get up and head over to watch from a better vantage point.  Birds!  Little birds!  This one has what looks like white stripes above and below his eye.  Very pretty, tiny little bird.  No clue what it is, but I don’t need to know.  I watch with quiet delight and then head back to sit with my husband on the bench.

We’re about six feet away from the running fountain.  We hear above us the distinctive hum of hummingbird wings.  The hum stops as the hummingbird perches on a branch above us.  Then we notice that it’s not one, but two hummingbirds flitting about.

They’re so small and delicate.  Like watching fairies flit about (as if I actually knew what that looked like!).

One comes down and hovers above the fountain, then back up, then back a little lower to hover again, as if checking it out.  Scoping out the angles, the water, where it falls, where a landing spot might be.

And then, up to rest on the archway to the entrance to the labyrinth.

Mark and I look carefully at each other and smile, still as church mice, so as to not disturb the tiny birds.

Then the hummingbird comes down to the top fountain, dipping to drink, again and again.  The bird would come up just above the top so that we could see it, flutter for a bit and then dip back down again.  It went on drinking for several minutes.  Time stood still for me.  Watching the hummer’s movements with joy and quiet entertainment.

Shortly after the bird stopped drinking and moved on, I noticed above us the silhouette of a red shouldered hawk flying above the trees above us.  Soaring on the thermals, wings spread.  Beauty of a different sort.  The hummingbird is all about super-fast flutter, maneuverability and zippy speed.  The hawk, slow, still, gliding on the air currents.  So beautiful, both birds, and so very different.

I love it when I get such clear experiences of different tempos like that.  This one feels more obvious than most, because of the extreme difference in how fast the wings of the hummingbird were moving versus the fact that the hawk’s wings weren’t beating at all while we watched.

What I find curious is that the hummer didn’t feel hurried and the hawk didn’t feel slow.  It was easy for me to accept their individual pace as being right and perfect for them.  I seem to forget that in humans.  If I were looking for a lesson in today’s awareness (which it would appear I am), I would pay attention to how I’m judging my own tempo versus other people’s tempos.  What do you notice?