Friday, May 20, 2011

The Hummingbird

The Short Story, if you come here only to look at the sketches:

A tiny hummingbird, drawn from real life out in the wild. Woot!

The Long Story, if you come to read the rambling tales of my mundane life:

I was out Urban Sketching with Miz Dee earlier this week. I was frustrated because my sketches weren't going well. The drawing part was fine, but the painting and composition suckedrealbad.

Decided to take a break and get away for a minute. Went around the corner next to the dumpster to ponder on things. Dumpster pondering is more beneficial than you might think. There are usually lots of interesting things in and around a dumpster. Most times I find something there I want to draw. But I digress.

So, I was sitting on the curb pondering the dumpster environs when I heard a splat a few feet away. Looked over to see a tiny hummingbird had fallen from the sky and landed among the debris.

He was laying on his side, not moving, one unblinking eye staring straight up into the glaring sun. His bill had somehow become wedged under an old pipe. He was pitiful. I took him for a goner. Chances for his survival seemed to be slim to none at this point.

I paused for a minute, wondering if I should intervene. There really wasn't anything I could do to rescue him from his imminent fate. But I couldn't stand seeing him laying there like that. If he was going to die, at least he could die comfortably in a quiet corner in the shade, not being baked in the sun in a pile of trash. No creature should met his end like that.

I picked him up ever so gently, trying not to touch him much or hurt him any further. He was tiny, maybe 2-1/2 inches long. He didn't even flinch when I picked him up. I figured he didn't have long.

I set him in a nearby flowerbed in the shade. I nestled him in the shredded mulch so that he was upright on his belly. He didn't fall over but he wasn't moving either. I left to let nature take its course. I couldn't bear to watch.

When I returned to my sketching spot, my warm tender-hearted side went back into hibernation and my logical analytical side kicked in. Make that my cold evil black-hearted side.

Humm...if the hummingbird is going to be over there dying for a while, he'll be still enough to sketch. When will I ever get another opportunity to sketch a motionless hummingbird in the wild???? Snatched up the sketchbook and off I went. The little devil on my left shoulder was most pleased.

I hunkered down next to the little bird, trying to get a good look at him. I was maybe 18 inches away. He was moving his head from side to side ever so slightly as I got my pen and sketchbook ready. As I drew, his head moved back and forth, a little bit more and a little bit more.

I was almost finished with the sketch when a big natural gas standpipe nearby came to life making a loud whooshing sound. That startled the little bird. He became noticeably agitated and his eyes opened wide. He really started looking around at that point. Suddenly he cranked his head up and looked me square in the eye. Uh oh. I've been spotted.

Then he took flight! Two sides of our spot were brick walls and the third a tall hedge. I closed him in on the fourth side. He rose about a two feet off the ground and hovered about a foot from my nose, giving me a thorough examination. He was sizing me up as friend or foe I suppose.

I remained motionless as he zigged and zagged, checking me out on all sides. He finally decided up was probably the best option for escape. Up he went, but not out into the open sky. He banged against the building a couple of times, then against the big loading dock door. He still wasn't OK obviously, but at least he was off the ground and no longer a potential kitty snack.

I watched as he finally made his way to the top of the wall and into the open southern sky.

Goodbye little bird. Thank you for the few magical moments we spent together. I'll remember this for the rest of my life.

See, I told ya dumpsters were interesting places to hang out. Didn't believe me did ya?


Julie (O-kami) said...

What a wonderful story and a wonderful drawing. I wish we had hummers here, just another of the many things that I miss.

freebird said...

I hope he made it after all. Hummingbirds would routinely smack into my dad's windows in his patio room. They'd fly in the open doorway and then try to exit via glass windows. He'd cup them in his hands and hold them for a few minutes and then set them back outside when they started moving again from where they'd take off again after just a few more minutes so it is possible your bird was just stunned - we can hope! It did allow you to make a very nice sketch of him. I was wondering how you could draw him live.

Capt Elaine Magliacane said...

What a MARVELOUS story... you old softy you... flick that devil off your shoulder, you saved a little bird's life, and as a reward he let you draw him, maybe he was saying thank you as he hovered looking at your nose... yes a hummingbird thanks indeed. You are one lucky lady.