It was snowing this morning when I looked out and saw a gray hummingbird perched atop a piece of garden art on the covered porch. I sat and watched it from the couch. It was perched, but constantly moving, its head bobbing up and down, back and forth. It stretched tall and shrank back. I wanted to get closer, to know what, exactly, it was doing, but I didn't want to disturb it.
After about five minutes I went into the back room and dug out the binoculars. From there I had a good view so I leaned against the bookcase and stood staring for several more minutes. It must have had mites, or fleas, because it kept scratching, stretching its neck and twisting around to poke with its long beak at feathers on its stretched-out wings and tail. It would lift its tiny feet to scratch on one side, then the other; and like a yoga practitioner, come back to center for a moment of rest before repeating it all again.
I watched for a few minutes before returning to the couch. The bird was still there, doing the same things. Then I looked away for a moment and it was gone, flown into the snow that kept falling and falling but never sticking.
I briefly wondered if the bird was as sick of this weather and I am. No, the bird is content to simply sit and groom itself while watching the snow. Like most nonhumans it lives only in the now, the very immediate now. Itch, scratch, rest, itch, scratch rest. No cursing the mites, no planning for the future or regretting the past. It is simply being a hummingbird right now. Just being.
And just as nature has done so many times for me, it took me into the same now as the bird; she scratching, me watching. Not thinking, not planning, not worrying about the snowy road I may have to drive this afternoon. Just watching.
It's so easy to get caught up in the drama of the day. But it's just as easy to glance out the window and enter the now. It only takes a minute.