by Deanna Matzen, Operations Manager
The first time I saw a hummingbird in our yard was about 3 years ago. We'd lived in our house barely a year and the Chilean fire tree in the front yard was in full bloom. It was May and the tree was ablaze with red blossoms with long slender necks grouped in tufts. I couldn't have designed a better tree for hummingbirds. You would think, looking at the tree, that it would be ablaze with hummingbirds during the near month-long bloom fest. But no, it's sadly not.
It was a fateful night. We had just come home from work and were doing some weeding in the yard when we noticed them. First one, then two or three hummingbirds began to swirl around the tree. One of us ran for the camera, another ran for a chair. We staked out the tree for hours. We sat in the front yard and answered phone calls, snapped photos, and chatted about our days while we watched the hummingbirds come and go. It was a blessed evening.
The birds came less frequently and it appeared that they had retired for the evening, so we did too. We never saw them again that year, but we were on the prowl. The next spring, we would cast an occasional glance towards the tree, hoping to see another hummingbird, but we didn't.
That fall, I decided to "set a trap." For my birthday that year, I asked for a hummingbird feeder. Certainly, they would not be able to resist a feeder! Unfortunetly, it sat in the closet for probably another year before we got the hook put in the roof to hang it outside our office window. For many months it sat there, the nectar slowly lowering but we never caught sight of the hummingbirds...until this last winter.
It was a cold and snowy winter in Seattle and my husband and I decided to work at home during the worst week of snow in December. It was so cold that the hummingbird nectar froze! To our surprise, first one hummingbird then two then three or four came to our feeder day after day. We took nearly a hundred photos, or so it seemed, of our visitors. The little splashes of color and life entertained us during those cold and lonesome days. I had no idea that hummingbirds lived in the Northwest all year long. Now I have proof!
Since those beautiful snowy days, the visits by the hummingbirds have been fewer. But today, just as the month of May and the blooms on my fire tree are winding down, the hummingbirds revealed htemselves again. It happened this evening as I was about to walk up the steps to my house from the sidewalk after work. I had been stopped by a guest of my neighbor and as we were talking I heard a commotion around the tree. I quickly turned my head into the sunlight and saw two hummingbirds dancing about. The commotion appeared to be a discussion as to which bird had rights to the tree at that moment. Before I knew it, a red headed hummingbird (Anna's, I believe) flew towards me and over my head as the winning bird began gracefully drinking from the long, thin red stems of the fire tree.
There is something so comforting in God's design. Creatures of habit, both human and bird, find comfort in the repetitiveness and cycles of this natural life. Hummingbirds on the fire tree in May bring me joy and peace because they remind me that God is good all the time and that God's faithfulness endures forever.