A hummingbird stopped me from going into one of my little pity patch moments yesterday. I was down and out, my migraine making me a bit fuzzy. I have 75 student emails to answer and a sentence I'd left dangling from my novel. I'd been staring at it for 20 minutes, and then realized I actually had to teach. I ran off to class with my character Taliath in the middle of a huge dilemma. What else? Neither my agent nor editor had answered a question I asked both, and, you know, life was rough in general.
But when I came back from class, I put down my books and walked to one corner of my office, turned, and noticed an Anna's hummingbird hovering near the liquid amber branch closest to my window. It had something soft and puffy in its thin beak (do hummingbird's have beaks? Or is it a bill?). What was it doing? I followed it with my eyes, and then saw it land in a tiny, perfect nest about a half foot from my window.
Oh. My. God.
I don't know how long I stood there, looking at this tiny thing that never rests, resting. I could see the huge movements of its breathing, its sides expanding, contracting, the breaths as big as a Labrador's. Sitting still must almost cause it discomfort. But it (he, she?) had a mission, and there she sat in her little bowl of nest, her greeness glowing under the brilliant, even greener liquid amber leaf. I watched, I calmed down, I realized, again, how stupid I get. How all the ephemera gains weight because I can't stop thinking about it. But there was this little bird who weighs less than my pinkie building a nest, braving the elements, and sitting still, so still.
What is my problem?
And there is so much to be thankful for this month. All the true things are still true. I'm thankful for my love Michael, my children, my mother. My friends. Why do I hop right over all that goodness and go straight to whinging when my agent doesn't call me back.
Get a nest, girlfriend!
The person who has amazed and astounded me this spring is Elizabeth Stark. I'm not really sure what angel tree she fell from, but she lit a fire under my ass as well as a few others and got us all together in a spring and fall tour. For a few years due to overwhelm and cynicism, I'd given up on the face-to-face publicity stunts. Readings were disheartening and seemingly pointless. I was spending all my advertising time and dollars on internet and online ventures.
But now because of Elizabeth, I am reading and promoting with the group at three spots this spring. She's gotten our names and book titles out there through press releases. She's a one-woman promotion machine, but this is no ordinary tour. We are actually thinking about ideas, the way we can connect our readings, even if we aren't all writing in the same genre.
And her good vibe has effected me, enough that I've said yes to many other readings, traveling often in California this year. I said yes, and the universe said yes back.
All afternoon between teaching and meetings, I came back to the window and stared at the nest. The hummingbird (or her mate) was always there, breathing away, its little thin bill raised up, as if it the bird was a nanosecond away from flight. But despite the desire to leave, to move, to fling out into the air, she sat tight, held still, breathed into her long waiting.
Causes Jessica Inclán Supports
Women for Women International Goodwill Industries Lindsey Wildlife Museum Freecycle.org