In the coldest of times

We just emerged from a cold snap.

Most people who live here never forget them, but never remember them either,

and most of us here who came from cold snap regions do not miss them.

But one came.

Frozen pipes.  Frozen people.  Frozen grass and dog poop.

We had a little snow also.  I took pictures for my east coast friends.

They scoffed as they waded to work through inches and feet of the stuff.

We just are not used to it here in Oregon.

We are the temperate society here on the westside of the Cascades.

Plants grow year-round.  Gardener’s paradise.  Winter crops.  Farmer’s Markets.

You can almost hear the trees growing.

But this cold snap was tough on everything and everyone – but particularly the birds.

All of their wet places were hockey rinks.

I finally realized they were thirsty when I saw them gathered in the little snow drifts on the street corners

despite the traffic and people passing by.

The birds were eating snow.

I came home and immediately placed bowls and buckets and plates around my yard.

I poured warm water into them several times a day to keep them ice free.

And I worried about the neighborhood cats.  I thought about my son’s BB gun for a moment.

I figured the birds were better cat-worriers than I would ever be.

And the cats around here know about my dog Posey.

Kind of unpleasant that the gun was my first thought, but I just needed to think it through.

I guess this was my own form of gun control.

Anyway, I never saw any birds drink from these water dishes, but I found their poo.

That pleased me.

Near the end of the cold snap, the sun came out.  The sun was frozen too but at least it looked warm.

I turned my little plastic solar sun flower on in the south-facing window in front of the kitchen sink and

it began its dance for the sunlight.

A few minutes later, while doing the dishes, I saw it.

The female rufous hummingbird.

It hovered motionless outside my kitchen window, watching the one bright flower on the planet

slowly dancing like a pole dancer behind glass. Untouchable.

Hopelessly in love and lust with the solar-powered plastic flower.

This beautiful miracle of a bird with wings beating 50 times per second, with amazing hazel eyes I have only seen once before. How did this bird find my window on this day? How did I come to be there to see her?

The bird and I locked eyes for a moment before it vanished.

She said to me, “David, when you are in love, nothing is hopeless.  Everything is possible.”

She continued, “But please hang a hummingbird feeder and plant some extra flowers in your yard this spring.”

“Deal.” I said.

“I will be back then.” she said, and was gone.

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