Hummingbirds begin arriving in the Davis Mountains of Far West Texas in early spring, after their annual winterfest down south. These early birds are often solo acts, so we get excited when we spot one. The feeder gets streaked with algae and mold long before these scattered travelers empty the sugar water my husband so thoughtfully provides them. Jim obediently cleans their feeder for them, so they hang around, delighting us with their energetic flights.
A few more appear in June. Jim grumbles, but hangs a second feeder for them. Come July, we’ll watch three or four hummers politely dining together while others hover in a holding pattern, waiting their turn at their favorite feeder.
In late July, all hell breaks loose around here. The Rufous clan arrives in a colorful frenzy, and there goes the neighborhood. Rufous hummingbirds are feisty, athletic fliers who don’t believe sharing nor, in waiting in line. Our African Grey parrot delights in watching their antics outside his window. (While he’s a bit offended when they buzz around his red tail feathers, he forgives his tiny avian cousins enough to go into mourning when they migrate back to Central America each autumn.)
One August morning, with assorted species of happy hummers practicing their aerobatic maneuvers through pine branches overhead, I grabbed my camera, squeezed against the tree trunk and started snapping shots. Most weren’t very good shots. (I’m an artist, not a photographer.) Out of a hundred photos, less than a third even had a hummer visible. (Thank goodness for digital photography!) But by pretending to be a tree trunk while holding down the shutter button, I got a pretty good sense of what it is to be a hummingbird, swooping and soaring, looping and diving through velvety green pine boughs on a lovely summer morning, on a lovely mountainside.
The lovely thing about being an artist is, I can create something out of not much. So, while my photo of these little creatures is a color-smudged blur, in my painting, the hummers are dancing their rapidly beating hearts out, celebrating another splendid summer here in the Texas mountains. As am I.
Be a hummingbird today: Dance like nobody’s watching, then sip as much sweetness as you dare.
To see more of my paintings from the Davis Mountains and beyond, visit my website http://LindyCSeverns.com