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To Care

Updated: Feb 14, 2020

I have a friend who owns 4 crows. This doesn’t mean that she has them in a cage, or that they live in her house. She has a special relationship, and there is a sense of belonging. She cares for them.

In a similar way I have a hummingbird, his name is Joe. Joe can get a bit upset when something that I can’t see happens, probably another hummingbird spending some time on his favorite branch. In that case Joe flies very high, at what I would call normal speed, and then suddenly darts into the tree, at a speed that seems incredible, making a “pluck” sound, definitive, like he is really making a point, the way some kind of god or goddess would tap a pen on a paper to place a dot emphatically at the end of a sentence.*(Read Note at the end of this article)

Joe the hummingbird. Belmont, California, February 2020

We used to see two hummingbirds in the terrace, but now only Joe, and other birds that coexist.

Lesser goldfinch with flower. Belmont, California, February 2020

All our life is really about relationship, and it has been fascinating to watch the birds act and interact, some being okay with others’ presence as they enjoy the sun in the morning. Today two goldfinches enjoyed a delicious lunch of flower essence when my friend and I were planting something in the garden. We named some plants, knowing that naming would create a bond with these plants, something like a statement of caring for them.

When I do something like that I often hesitate, since the more I create a bond, I think, the harder it will be to say goodbye, and as we know, death will touch all the living things when the time comes.

Just yesterday I walked before the sunrise, and found myself in tears feeling that my body couldn’t hold the beauty of the reflection of the sunlight in the water of the bay, with a blue/green/purple I can’t describe, and a pink that was not really pink, something like the hummingbird iridescent colors.

The Now goes fast and the colors change, and yet it’s always the Now, even when that Now passed, now is the Now again!

And even if I keep thinking that Valentine’s Day is a commercial scheme, a way to make some people who don’t have a boyfriend or girlfriend feel frustrated or alone, and a justification to consume way too much milk chocolate (I have nothing against dark chocolate, of course!), it may be for me another good opportunity to revisit the way I relate, not only to my husband, but to my sons, my mother, my family, my friends, my students and clients, my environment, my spine, my breath… Did you notice the word “my” repeating itself over and over?

Today I choose to believe that the word “my” means that I care. That I notice, I observe, I relate to, and care for something or somebody, that I try to make it so that I can contribute in some way to this something or someone’s happiness.

The fact that I care for my hummingbird may not change absolutely anything for him, but it certainly changes my experience.

Joe stands on one of his favorite branches, his feathers shine in reds and greens, the wings move fast, his eyes stare with intent, piercing around.

Joe stands on one of his favorite branches...his eyes stare with intent, piercing around. Belmont, California, February 2020

*Note: Yesterday my husband showed me very interesting information about the Anna's Hummingbird, from the Audobon web page:

"May begin nesting in December, or even earlier. In courtship display, male hovers in midair, giving buzzy song, then flies much higher; he then dives steeply toward the female, making a loud explosive popping sound at the bottom of the dive. Also buzzes back and forth in front of female in short shuttling flights. (

This morning I opened an email from a dear friend telling me the exact same thing."What you witnessed with Joe is called a display flight.  It is to establish territory and attract a mate.  Perhaps Mrs. Joe is nesting.  You can look for the color difference, but female Anna's hummingbirds tend to have a small amount of red."

Thank you Dan! I was witnessing courtship and had no idea. Very cool.

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