Friday, September 19, 2008

Hummingbirds

There was a tiny hummingbird outside our front door this morning, unable to fly and chirping longingly. It seemed like a baby bird, though I don't know. Hopefully its mother came along soon.

Brian Doyle wrote this wonderful essay, "Joyas Voladoras" on hummingbirds for The American Scholar in 2004, reprinted in The Best American Essays 2005. Here's part:
"Consider the hummingbird for a long moment. A hummingbird's heart beats ten times a second. A hummingbird's heart is the size of a pencil eraser. A hummingbird's heart is a lot of the hummingbird. Joyas voladoras, flying jewels, the first white explorers in the Americas called them, and the white men had never seen such creatures, for hummingbirds came into the world only in the Americas, nowhere else in the universe, more than three hundred species of them whirring and zooming and nectaring in hummer time zones nine times removed from ours, their hearts hammering faster than we could clearly hear if we pressed our elephantine ears to their infinitesimal chests."