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THE UTOPIAD

"If you could harness the power of the hummingbird you could cross rivers, halt cavalry charges and pull down walls; You could sink armadas and divert flights of arrows; In fact, you could fly.." (Aaron Unislav, author of Science as Myth) Sitting there motionless while a dynamic little engine hums just off the tip of your nose is nerve-wracking. Add to that the fact that the little engine has a beak like a sharpened pencil and you can see why the urge to blink or turn one's face to the side would be almost overwhelming. I must say, and to my credit I think, that I did not blink nor did I flinch, even though I was almost certain that the little bastard was going to make a sudden lunge for my eye, nope, I held steady and the "bloody little deity" took courage from my inaction and drew nearer. Now he was an inch from my nose and the fear was running down my face and pooling in the sockets of my eyes, I fought the idea of simply swatting him from the skies like King Kong swatting a Spad and clung to the conviction that to be completely still was my best course. Meanwhile he shaved another quarter-inch off the distance between us and began a series of forward-dipping maneuvers that brought his tiny beak to within a hairs-breadth of my nose each time. This whole event was accomplished in a minute, real time. That it seemed an event unbounded by time is simply a quirk of human perception, a kind of psychic wormhole effect that draws reality out until it is a taut wire, humming with possibilities. Staring into the eyes of a hummingbird is like accidently seeing your sister naked: What's the point? There just isn't anything to be gained. And yet his attitude in the air, his tentative approach, even the forward thrust of his beak all suggested to me that he was...curious, just curious as hell and willing to take some risks in order to satisfy his curiosity. The end result of a gram of hummingbird courage, apparently, is the ability to confront a creature a hundred, no, a thousand times your size and to slowly approach them until you touch your tiny beak to their brobdignagian beak...and then to get away alive. Which is exactly what he did. Whether he did it in the spirit of a Sioux warrior riding weaponless through a hail of gunfire to prove his bravery or a fisherman that catches a fish just to let it go or a sky-diver risking it all for the adrenaline thrill of the experience or a Jane Goodall holding a chimpanzee's hand simply because she loves the beast, I don't know. I guess I'm just as prone to anthropomorphic associations as the next guy because I thought at the time (and still do...,) that he was saying : Hi! That was my impression. Silly, I know. Anyway,I was honored when I realized that it WAS an honor, and I'm awfully glad I had the presence of mind to not be too coy or too eager the day a hummingbird decided to give an old drunk a kiss.

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