The other day, I went out to the backyard to pull some tomatoes from the vine when a hummingbird flew right up to me. He hovered right in front of my face for a few seconds and then flew up to perch on a wire above my head. He sat there long enough for me to think about running inside and grabbing my camera. Except I knew that by the time it took me to swap lenses and get my act together, that tiny bird would be gone. So instead of rushing inside, I stood very still and watched. One heartbeat. Two heartbeats. Three heartbeats. Four heartbeats. Then the hummingbird flew up and over the roof of our house and was gone from sight. We don’t see hummingbirds all too often around here. I’m sure if I put out a feeder, we would see more of them but for some reason I never get around to hanging one up. Hummingbirds fall into my fantastical category. I feel like such a tiny bird that moves so quickly and travels great distances must be a mythical creature.
Like the moose.
The yin and yang of this whole scene did not go unnoticed. There is this busy buzzy movement of the hummingbird juxtaposed with the stillness of watching and observing. Then there was that brief moment when we were both still. Seconds. That is all it takes sometimes to have a moment for all the other outside noises to fall away and for you to feel some peacefulness. This is a phenomenon I often experience when I take short walks. Those moments are not as spontaneous as my encounter with the hummingbird. I usually step out with the intention of paying close attention to my surroundings. I am purposeful in looking for the interesting or the unusual that could be tucked in just around that corner over there. It is this practice that has made me a better photographer. It is this practice that helps stay calm and focused. It is this practice that helps me to notice the spontaneous moments of zen.
I am thankful.