Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Attracting hummingbirds to feeders

Beginning each April we have had a modest but steady number of hummingbirds attracted to the feeder in our garden here in the deep woods on the north end of Cortes Island. This spring they have been unexpectedly and then alarmingly missing. The story that has unfolded around my attracting hummingbirds has brought me a spiritual teaching from hummingbirds.

At first I just imagined they were late in their migration as our weather has seemed colder than usual, and so I thought little of their lack of appearance. When I heard neighbors reporting a few sightings in their gardens I became convinced that the feeder I was using--a small glass bottle and pipette--was not easy for them to eat from, and so I went hunting for another. I know it would be better if I didn't use an artificial feeder, but our forest setting is short on sunshine and flowers. Of course the only hummingbird feeder I found was of the same design, but I decided that maybe two feeding ports would do the trick. Although these feeders were very beautiful, they both unfortunately leaked, and I finally decided that although the little puddles made for happy ants, the red tips were not big enough for the birds to see. My prayers to hummingbirds seemed answered when I purchased the style of feeder that most of my friends have: lots of capacity, lots of red, lots of places to perch and eat--yet still no birds have come.

Someplace in this expensive quest I began to compare my wanting to be chosen by hummingbirds to my wanting to be chosen by spirit. This is an old story for me--being chosen by spirit--most visible in the process I used to create the Journey Oracle card deck. When I offer my prayers and ceremony for the spirit realms to eat, maybe I shouldn't but I guess I do expect something to show itself in return. What I discovered in this saga of attracting hummingbirds is that when nothing seems to come--I blame myself. I try harder and more frequently, thinking that if only my efforts, or words or attention were more worthy then I would be able to earn as blessing the arrival of the unseen. But I can't earn the hummingbird's arrival, as if several were just off in the trees nearby, waiting to see if my offerings are acceptable or lacking. The hummingbirds have their own story and will be here, or not, as time and spring unfolds. So if I know I can't earn the presence of hummingbirds, why do I think I have to earn the presence of spirit?