articles & news
Out of the Ordinary
A hummingbird makes friendly with Advocate staffer
NOVEMBER 2006 | Every once in a while we stumble upon an experience so rare and so out of the ordinary that we know there has to be something we are supposed to learn from it. My lesson came in the form of a hummingbird.
After arriving home on a hot and muggy afternoon this summer, I climbed the stairs to my apartment hoping to find relief from the heat inside. But what I found instead was a hummingbird flying frantically back and forth and it appeared to be trapped on the second level of the building.
At first glance I thought it was merely a large dragonfly. But once I realized what it really was I stood and watched in awe of this tiny creature's aeronautical abilities.
Each time she took her flight she would fly from one end of the building to the other and always come back to the same spot on the wreath hanging from my neighbor’s door. I inched closer and closer to her landing pad, hoping to catch a closer glimpse.
After a few minutes, she seemed to figure out that I wasn’t going anywhere so she stopped attempting to allude me. As she became more comfortable with my presence I was able to get closer to her.
Next, I had the crazy idea to see if this bird would land on my finger. So during my tiny friend’s next trip to the other end of the building I put my hand up near my neighbor’s wreath.
On the first few tries she simply avoided me, flying around or above my hand. But eventually, to my surprise, she actually landed on my finger. And she continued to land on my finger time after time. The more comfortable I felt holding her, I began bringing her up to my face to look at her closely.
I noticed that her eyes were blinking and that she was actually about to fall asleep perched on my finger. Amazingly, I noticed that her tiny little eyes showed no sign of fear or terror. She even began looking at me as if she were trying to figure ME out! Realizing that no one would believe this when I told them (because I scarcely believe it myself!) I ran inside my apartment and grabbed my digital camera. I returned outside and the bird continued to land on my finger.
So I held my camera out in front of me and snapped several pictures in order to preserve this unbelievable experience.
I’m not even sure what gave me my next idea but I decided to try to walk her down the stairs since she seemed to be so lost. And once again the first couple of tries failed but on the third try she patiently stayed on my finger as if desperation had taken over her tiny body. We reached the bottom of the stairs and yet my winged friend stayed with me a few moments more…long enough that I was able to snap a few more pictures.
She stayed with me until a car pulled up into the parking lot near us and startled her. But she immediately flew directly back to my neighbor’s hummingbird feeders which had drawn her there in the first place.
Once the experience was over I could hardly believe what had just happened.
So the next day I began researching hummingbirds in order to find out whatever I could to bring some meaning to this experience.
I discovered that hummingbirds are not afraid of any predators, which explained the lack of fear I saw in the bird’s eyes. I found that they have even been known to chase off eagles!
Throughout this experience, I couldn’t help but be reminded of something I had read in Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book, Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling. The passage I’m referring to comes from the chapter entitled “The Language of the Spirit.” In this chapter Dr. Dyer discusses how we can recognize when our “Spiritual Source” (or God) is trying to teach us something or to get in touch with us. He points out that we often dismiss God’s messages to us because they sometimes come in a rather inconspicuous manner.
Dr. Dyer suggests that God sometimes communicates with us through seemingly “inexplicable alignments,” such as alignments with 1) feelings, 2) nature, 3) events, and 4) people. “Noticing the same folks showing up in different settings, running into people we haven’t seen in awhile after we’ve just heard their names mentioned, and repeatedly seeing an individual’s name in magazines, on television, or at the local bookstore” are all examples of God’s way of speaking to us through alignment with people.”
But it was the story Dr. Dyer shared about his personal experience of aligning with nature that I was reminded of by my hummingbird friend. Dr. Dyer states, “Everything in nature is in-Spirit – it isn’t spoiled by ego, nor can it ever be. So when nature speaks to us, we should listen intently. When a wild bird touches us, for instance, or a fish brushes by when we’re swimming in the ocean or lake, I believe that it’s a direct communication from our Source of Being. Since these creations of God instinctively keep their distance, when they depart from their DNA patterns to actually contact us physically, I think we should pay attention.”
I have even had “alignments” with events since this occurrence to encourage me to write this story. I have procrastinated on writing it and just today my boss handed me a magazine with an article concerning hummingbirds because he thought I would find it interesting.
And that is not the first article that had been pointed out to me like that since this had happened to me. So here I am…writing this story.
Dr. Dyer told of the day he had a butterfly land on his finger and stay with him for the next few hours. And this happened to him during the time that he was working on this particular chapter of his book. As soon as that hummingbird landed on my finger I was reminded of his story.
I choose to believe that my experience with this female ruby-throated hummingbird was God attempting to get my attention and speak to me.
I haven’t narrowed down exactly what I feel He was trying to convey, yet when I researched the hummingbird I found many positive symbolisms associated with the bird, such as their lack of fear, their association with the healing properties of flowers and herbs, the figure 8 pattern they create with their wings as they fly which is a symbol of Infinity, and my personal favorite…their physical lightness serves as a reminder to us to “lighten up.”
Perhaps this experience was an avenue through which God can lead me into my passions…writing. Or perhaps this bird chose me to save its little life since I read that a hummingbird will quickly die if trapped or encaged. There are so many possible explanations, it’s fascinating! But I hope that God has been able to use me through this story to inspire others to listen for the little messages He sends us throughout our days. I hope it has opened someone’s eyes to greater possibilities and greater hope. I believe the main message God wants to send our way through these types of occurrences is that He is with us all of the time and He hasn’t forgotten us. It is a great feeling to know we are not alone.
Sophia Richards is a graduate of Troy University and currently works for Greenville Newspapers, LLC as a Graphic Designer.
Reprinted with permission.