It is early morning, I am sitting outside feeling the gentle breeze. My patio is above Oak Creek in a wonderful riparian area. The female Goldfinch is taking the unprocessed cotton and llama hair I put out in the grid. She fills her beak and keeps taking more and more until she can’t hold anymore and flies off with it. The male Goldfinch comes to the fountain and drinks, astutely moving to the side with the deliberate drips where the water flows the freshest. He is soon joined by the male and female House Finch, the male still sporting his brightest red. Then to my delight my favorite, the little Bridled Titmouse comes to drink. Then the neighbors recently mowed lawn entices the Robin who comes to investigate, hoping to find a delicate morsel of fresh worm. Best of all, the male Black-chinned Hummingbirds are coming to the Penstemon and then compete with the Anna’s for the feeders. The female is here, too, and the male and female Anna’s hummingbirds go to the ‘secret’ of the window feeder they discovered. I drink my warm constant comment tea from a favorite playful cup picturing hummingbirds with flowers on their heads. I am grateful for this day of new and abundant life. I smile remembering what I experienced just last month – May 15 to be exact.
I was just sitting outside on the patio with a six foot table in front of me, which blocked the immediate foreground, when all of a sudden, I saw – the head of a moving duck! What in the world?! As she turned the corner around the end of the wall, I saw that seven ducklings were following just as close behind as they could. Oh my goodness! How precious! I recognized her as a female Wood Duck with the white pattern around her eye behind her eye. They must have all just jumped out of the tree where they had hatched as Momma called to them. I followed carefully at a distance. They waddled all across the year at what seemed like lightning speed for the little ones and she and six of the ducklings went over our neighbor’s 6 1/2 inch fence. Oh! The last little duckling couldn’t make it over. He tried and tried jumping up trying to grab hold, but then would fell back down. He kept trying over and over, without success. He almost made it, but no, down again he went. All the while Mama Duck knew she was missing one and stayed on the other side of the wall, calling and calling, encouraging him. I went closer thinking to help which caused the duckling to turn to the left and to discover a way around the wall through the garden. Smart little guy! My neighbor just happened to come out at that moment and got to share in the thrill of seeing them, too. She opened the gate so they could leave, but they hid under her ample salvia plant and spent the night there in safety. She left the gate open all night, and, indeed, worried about them all night, but in the morning, they were gone. They must have discovered the creek okay, as a friend reported seeing a mother duck and her brood swimming there that morning.
What a thrill! We had bought our home here in 1993, and moved permanently in 2006, but I had never had an experience like it in all those years…sitting there and suddenly seeing a duck on the patio and then discovering the 7 precious little hatchlings following behind. I am at my Sedona Hummingbird Gallery most days as well as keeping the Hummingbird Society afloat since Ross’s passing, and it was a miracle that I happened to be sitting there at that very moment. That’s one for the books!! Nature can surely give us an experience of the divine and connect us to Spirit.
June, 2021 by Beth Kingsley Hawkins