Tuesday, September 18, 2018

One Hummingbird Moth

I am fortunate to live where I can go up when I get down. And I was down. All that Friday afternoon and evening I barely slogged through agonizingly slow hours. I could not focus. Not read. Not watch television. Not write the letters and emails that needed writing. Not do basic chores. I was stuck in the muck of despond.

 It took me a while to get going on Saturday. But I knew that moving was essential. And going up the mountain imperative.

 I didn’t leave until almost midday so stopped and bought a sandwich at the Subway place where the man with perpetual verve works. (He always makes me smile.) I put the sandwich in my car and drove up through the canyon west of town --  the canyon that can do so much to restore my soul. There is a little restaurant where the road forks – one branch going into Estes Park, the other into Glen Haven (then on into Estes). I stopped there to see if it was still in business. (It was, but not for lunch.)

The Glen Haven road is less traveled so I took it. It had been more than a year but the curves and cliffs were familiar and comforting. Entering Glen Haven, I spotted the general store and pulled into the parking area at its side. My sandals were not suited for the gravel, but I managed to move my sandwich and water bottle and droopy self to a table in the shade of the store’s front porch. I ate, watching passersby and the birds playing in the pine tree across the street.

When I finished and went into the store, I bought some little things and a cup of ice cream. When I asked the flavors, the owner pointed to the sign on which the flavors were listed. When I asked the ingredients of ‘Rocky Road’ he said: chocolate, marshmallow and walnuts. He smiled when I said that sounded well balanced. And his smile made me smile.

Back out on the porch, I savored. Not just the ice cream, but also the flowers on the porch – in large sedentary pots and pots swinging above. Each was crammed with a rainbow of blossoms. It was then that I noticed the tiny creature hovering over the flowers – wings beating faster than my eyes could register. A hummingbird? The woman sitting next to me said yes but then changed her mind. She had never seen one with bumble bee stripes and, as we looked more closely, we saw that the two-inch creature did not have a beak but a proboscis, curling into the center of each blossom.

Others began to gather and comment and take pictures. They said it was a hummingbird moth. My camera was in the car, but I took no photographs. It was more fun to watch a half dozen tourists pointing smartphones and 35mm cameras at the tiny wonder. And it was a wonder (you can Google it if you’d like to see what it looks like).

The miracle was the shared awe that it invoked among us. It was enough to remind me how spectacular our world is.

I stood up and drove home. I was okay.