Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Flocks of Hummingbirds

Another lifetime ago, I was intorduced to Colorado on a tip. Literally, I received a plane ticket and accommodations at Copper Mountain as a tip while bartending at the Snow Barn at Mount Snow in Vermont. Seriously proving that you can never tell what drunk people will do. Anyway, I LOVED Colorado and after snowboarding my face off for the allotted two weeks, I was always hoping to go back. I liked everything about it.

Well, a number of years later, I re-met my now husband (long story) who, coincidentally enough, owned a house in CO and voilĂ ! The tenants announced that they were moving out in April. My dream of returning was soon to be realized. Huzzah!

So, after much plotting, planning and packing, we were off to the Rockies. Thirty-six hours later, we stopped at Garfinkel’s and had a few beers with my husband’s sister and brother-in-law and some of our friends from the area. Sitting at a ski resort’s slopeside bar in the summer when there are only 20 people in the place is a little disconcerting. One bartender, not five. Twenty customers, not hundreds. Sunny skies, green slopes, flowers, marmots and magpies everywhere. The song of the mountains was music to this Virgo's soul.

Enough cocktails later, off to the house we went. To find disaster where once a home had stood. And I do mean disaster. The tenants left the place befouled, besmirched and we were stunned that people could chose to live in such revolting conditions. I've been in cleaner fraternity houses. Really.

We slept on blankets on the floor that night, rather than the broken and cushionless full size couch that they had so graciously left in the middle of the living room, and woke up with rashes. In the daylight, the horror continued. Part of the front door was ripped off. The front fence was broken and sagging (it was otherwise a beautiful wrought iron picket fence) and the yard was in shambles. There was unspeakable filth all over the walls and ceiling of every room in the house. I think they were making beer at one point. I hope that's what it was anyway. Bugs in the cabinets from all the leftover dog food. Unidentifiable substances in the refrigerator from April. Broken windows and shelves, carpets that had been used by the three dogs living there. Three? There was a dead 8 person jacuzzi in the backyard next to a makeshift fire pit only feet from the house. Hello - anyone heard of wildfires in CO? Jackasses. As the day drew on, my disillusionment grew. The gross lack of respect only further proves my husband's and my theory that our society certainly is training its members well to not be accountable for their actions. Never mind being ashamed of bad behavior. But I digress.

While evaluating our situation, I looked out of the window to notice our next door neighbor sitting on his porch, playing a guitar and drinking his coffee. There were flowers all around him and several largish buzzing insects. Bugs? Here at 9,000 feet? No, wait! Hummingbirds!Positively squealing with joy, I ran out to meet this neighbor and get a closer look. Nick, a very pleasant man from somewhere in England by his accent, patiently informed me that there were indeed hummingbirds in my new home town. LOTS of them.

Later on that day, after spending over $500 in cleaning products, including enough toxic waste to kill every cootie that could possibly exist in the bathtub, we came back to find a hummingbird feeder and food on the stoop. No note. We promptly hung it up and waited to see who would come by. At 9pm, it was more likely to be some of the local color than a bird, I have to admit. The next morning we were rewarded by a whizzing noise followed by a ruby-throated humming bird. Then another. And another.

The symbolism of hummingbirds is this: "It is said that Hummingbird brings love as no other medicine can, and its presence brings joy to the observer. If you have Hummingbird medicine, you adapt easily to whatever situation you may find yourself in, and make the most of your new circumstances. You don't waste time looking back and wishing for "what was" for you are concerned with making the most of "what is." You take great pleasure in spreading joy and love and beauty to all around you, and have the gift of taking that inner joy into new and different surroundings. You have a talent for finding the good in people, and are not put off by a gruff or abrupt exterior, for you know that, if you can only get beyond that tough outside layer, you'll find goodness and beauty inside."

How appropriate. We were home.


Susan said...

I suddenly feel much better, just knowing that you have a guitar playing, coffee drinking, hummingbird charming, neighbor who bestows gifts upon you.

Liz said...

I think he can cook too!

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