Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Real Live

I've seen hummingbirds through glass. Lots of times, at my grandma's house in Sublimity. I've seen loads of pictures of hummingbirds, and video of hummingbirds in extra slow motion, wings flapping laboriously up and down.

I've never before seen a real live hummingbird with nothing between me and the hummingbird except, well, raspberries. This morning as I foraged through my raspberry patch for something to enhance my bland breakfast of rice crispies in soy milk, a hummingbird surprised me by swooping, yes, swooping, down upon my bare head. It sounded like a dive bomber. After a pass at my ear, it hovered, wings buzzing like a swarm of angry bees, two feet above my head.

At first I thought, "Dragonfly?"

Immediately alarmed at the thickness of such a monstrous dragonfly, my doubletake revealed the cranky hummingbird. Wait. Aren't hummingbirds supposed to be cute and small and nice and delicate and harmless? Maybe so, but not when you are stealing their raspberries.

My new enemy proceeded audaciously to chitter at me. The nerve. I said, "Now, listen here. Jeff planted these raspberries for me. They're mine. Not yours." More chittering, accompanied by another dangerous dive toward me. I wondered to myself, "Am I really going to get attacked by a hummingbird? Do hummingbirds attack?"

Just in the nick of time, my guardian angel leaned forward threateningly, sword drawn. The hummingbird abandoned her quest. She buzzed away, coming to rest in the neighbors' unmanned raspberry patch, where she will soon grow fat and dumpy feasting on little red berries. Serves her right.

Now I have seen (and held my ground against) a real live hummingbird.

It looked like this.