Fluffy, cottony clouds float in a Wedgewood blue sky. In the treetops above me, goldfinches twitter; cedar waxwings dart and swoop after insects, calling “zee-zee” to one other. I sit in one of the Andirondack chairs above the river, taking in the view both up and down, listening to the burbling below my feet.
It approaches over my head, hovering to inspect the bright, azure hair Scrunchy holding back my ponytail. Pausing next to my ear, it investigates the embroidered flowers that decorate the straps of my sundress. It is so close its pumping wings fan my hair and I feel its gentle brush on my cheek, but I can barely see it in my peripheral vision. It quickly decides I’m not a food source and zooms a beeline straight out over the river to the sycamore tree on the opposite bank. I feel honored by this very special visit.
When I later look up the symbolism of hummingbirds, I see significance in its message:
“The hummingbird generally symbolizes joy and playfulness, as well as adaptability. Additional symbolic meanings are:
- Lightness of being, enjoyment of life
- Being more present
- Bringing playfulness and joy in your life
- Lifting up negativity
- Swiftness, ability to respond quickly
- Resiliency, being able to travel great distances tirelessly”
I could always have more joy and playfulness in my life, be more present and foster positive resiliency. It is a daily striving toward creating a more fulfilling life.
It has been a hot and humid week, warmer than it has been all summer. I went swimming in the river yesterday and it was so refreshing! I squealed when I first entered the water, but my body soon adjusted to the cool water and as my core temperature lowered, I felt much better, relaxing into the flow of the water around me.
Our little swimming hole is only waist deep, so one must dip up and down, then to ‘swim,’ must lay down to float fifteen feet downstream before it grows too shallow, touching bottom. I waded back and repeated the trip a few more times. The tranquility of the scene, the gentle caress of the water around me, permeated my every fiber. Relaxed, all stress melted away, I am one with the stream and the little fish that nibble around my feet.
As I continue to sit up here above the river, I am visited by another wild inhabitant, this time a bumblebee doing the same as the hummingbird. This blue hair tie must be blaring ultraviolet light like a beacon! I can feel her wings beat the air and the light brush of feet upon the back of my neck before she veers off and away. I’m grateful she didn’t land as I’m not sure I could hold still for that.
Looking around, I see that a few of the Joe-Pye weed are turning brown, as are the early goldenrod. Time passes, flowers senesce and set seed. We have many species of goldenrod, so we’ll have blooms for a while yet. The tansy is tall, hugging the river edges where the light is best, clusters of golden buttons on long stalks of ferny leaves.
The knotweed have sent up their creamy flower stalks like bony fingers; soon they will fluff out, creating mounded, snowy banks up and down the river. The masses of blossoms are quite beautiful; I try not to negatively judge their invasiveness and impact on the landscape. I want to be present and accept them as they are– a plant that possesses graceful beauty.
The air is pungent with the smell of vegetation; freshly released oxygen that goes down like a good wine. I love the peace of this place where the water flows over the stones, the light catches, and ripples radiate in all directions. Deeper pools slow the eddies, offering a view to the tumble of tossed stones below.
A catbird scolds from the bushes. It sounds like he is whining “Hey!” interspersed with a nasal, Long Island accented, “Jer-ry!” They are keen observers and are the first to alert the residents that intruders have arrived. I don’t know what he has seen as I am staying still and have been here a while. Perhaps he just now noticed me.
A red-bellied woodpecker, like an unhappy housewife, rails from the woods, “Dirt-dirt-dirt!” as she hunts for insects among the dead tree branches and bark crevices.
A light breeze gently tosses the top of a seventy-foot cottonwood, it’s deltoid leaves quaking like aspens, shimmering in the sunlight. It is a dance of light and wind. The wild cherry trees let loose a few yellowed leaves, informing me the process of fall has begun, phasing out the work of summer. Its fruit attracts robins, cardinals and cedar waxwings, the latter being the most vocal. There is more yellow in the landscape with each passing day as trees phase out darker green for more olive, pushing on towards gold.
A blue bottle fly buzzes around me, pulling my attention away from the trees until I tire of it and swat it away. A mosquito replaces it, finding me a hopeful meal until I end its quest.
Occasionally, a song sparrow will raise its song, but it lacks the urgency of earlier summer, now that breeding season is over. It’s not as important to defend territory, as it is to fatten up for the migration south it will soon be undertaking.
Two squirrels are scrambling in the maple canopy above my head. I hear them dropping twigs, leaves and seeds, each piece hitting leaves and branches as they fall…tat-tat-tat. They are messy eaters, dropping half of what they harvest. Good news for the ground foragers, like mice and chipmunks, who will be happy for the easy meal. Those seeds that are not found will have a chance of sprouting next spring.
With a sigh, I see the sun has sunk below the trees, and my time has grown short. I must go back to my responsibilities, but will do so refreshed and renewed, and yes, more joyful.