When she thinks of him, she thinks of a hummingbird.
Iridescent red and green, with wings beating so rapidly they almost seem invisible, as if they risk being dissolved into the atmosphere. Never really stopping, but instead hovering mid-air, just long enough to sip the required amount of nectar needed to sustain him until the next adventure.
He moves so quickly that she sometimes fears losing sight of him, lest he fly off and disappear without warning. That happened once and she can’t fathom having it happen again.
Spending time with him is an exercise in continuous motion. He is attracted to speed and expressions of energy. Combustion. Racing, punk rock, vibrational thrill felt deep in his bones.
“Keep moving,” he advises her. “The more you move, the more you see. The more you see, the more you experience. The more experiences you have, the fuller the life you will have.”
She can’t argue his point.
She, however, is like a tree. Tall and strong. With roots so deep and grounded that at times she feels immovable. If she’s not careful, her ropey roots wrap and entwine themselves around her feet and keep her from growing. Keeping her heavy and making it impossible for her to feel the exhilaration of lift-off, of the wind beneath her wings.
She learns from him.
“I have a hard time being present in my life,” the hummingbird buzzes. “I avoid pain. Emotional pain.”
As much as she learns and grows and delights in his ability to fly free and experience life, she, the tree, has wisdom to impart as well.
She wants to show the hummingbird how to be still enough to be present.
How to feel his feet on the ground—really on the ground—connected and alive. Not so solidly on the ground that he becomes immovable, but connected enough so that he can fearlessly lean back, heart wide open, and know that he will be safe.
For as much exhilaration as there is in flying high, she knows the intoxicating sensation that comes from dropping back into the unknown.
Pausing enough to hear the voice of the universe. Her roots keep her safe, of this she is certain. Pain is not always inevitable, she wants to tell him, but it is a most powerful teacher.
She wants to teach him how to slow his rapid hummingbird heart rate down enough to take one deep breath. And then another. And one more after that. Every now and then, she glimpses a moment of stillness in his eyes. Eyes that reflect back the depth of his soul—his struggles, his joys, his fears.
She wants to soak it in, that fleeting moment of presence with him. Stay here, she whispers.
But then he’s off again. Flying.
“Come with me,” he laughs as his diaphanous wings beat an impossible rhythm.
Throughout it all, she smiles. She remembers the day that he flew into her life and trusts that they are here to learn from each other. Trusting in their improvisational dance of give-and-take. The hummingbird taking rest and solace in the tree’s sturdy branches.
The tree, brave and open enough to feel the vibrational whir of the hummingbird, spurring her on to new heights.
A divine partnership as delightful as it is unlikely.
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Ed: Catherine Monkman
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