Monday, March 21, 2011

Can You Find the Hummingbird?

On Sunday night we watched TV as normal, while George obliviously slept curled into a ball next to us. When we went to bed, I looked back at our evening and realized all we had seen was depressing destruction. On 60 Minutes, we watched a story about the devastation in Japan. Then we watched two episodes of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, one of which took place in Haiti and showed the poverty and hunger there, and the second which was in Cambodia and talked about the annihilation of much of the population there back in the 70’s.

And we spent the evening in the second floor of our cozy house, eating chocolate chip cookies and milk, petting our fluffy dog and stretching out on our oversized sofa.

Of course as we watched, I did the normal daydreaming about what I wish I could do to help these people. I imagined having a homeless Japanese family move into our guest room so they’d have a safe roof over their heads. I imagined adopting an orphan from Haiti and bringing him here for food and comfort. But those are just dreams; instead, I occasionally send a check to a charity to do my small part.

This weekend we had severe winds in Las Vegas, the kind that makes sucking-noises through our windows and blows everything outside into one corner of our yard. And all weekend, I was worried about the momma hummingbird who we recently discovered in a tiny golf ball-sized nest in our courtyard. Luckily she managed to stay in the nest even though the branch was whipping around. Worried, and wanting to do something for her, I put a hummingbird feeder in the courtyard and trimmed back a neighboring palm tree that was threatening to poke her when it moved in the wind. On Monday morning, she was still there, and I wished I could do something to warm up the courtyard for her. Turn on the Jacuzzi? Open the nearby window and turn on the heat? I daydreamed for ways to help her as I watched her before heading off to work.

Then as I neared my workplace this morning, I had to slow down early at an intersection because a tiny chipmunk had decided at the last minute to dart in front of my car. Luckily the light finally turned red, so I sat there and hoped he had run away.

While I waited, a woman got out of the truck behind me and approached my window. Great, I thought. She either thinks something is wrong with my car, or she’s coming to bitch at me for delaying traffic.

But I was wrong. “He’s under your car!” she said when I rolled down my window.

She was worried about the chipmunk just like I was! She bent down and said, “He’s just sitting there.”

I joined her outside and we both tried to scare him into the bushes. We never did see him run away, but I assume he did. We got back in our cars and drove away very slowly, just in case he was still around.

I may not be able to adopt a Haitian orphan or build a new house for a Japanese family, but I can acknowledge life when I can. We show our humanity by doing the little things that show we care.

Next Sunday night, I think we should watch Family Guy.

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