Thursday, June 05, 2008

A neat image

I have a grandson who loves birds. So, when his uncle went to visit him he relayed to him the following story:

"Calvin," he said, "Imagine a red-tailed hawk sitting on the backyard fence between the vines. My binoculars were trained on the big bird when a shimmering hummingbird landed on its head. The hummingbird was known to perch in that tangle of vines. It was not afraid. It thought that the hawk was just the extension of the usual branch."

I heard this story over the telephone, and it stirred my imagination. I was so pleased that such an unlikely event could arise. Such a little bird sitting on the brown head-feathers of a raptor is a miracle of the unexpected, a totem, a symbol of unison that shouldn't have been.

I marveled at the rare nature of this kind of event, and a friend gave an explanation that seemed quite plausible. The hummingbird was invisible to the hawk because a hawk does not look up. It only dives down to hunt. So, anything flying above him would be safe, no matter how easy a kill. I like that explanation.

Another explanation I like even better is one that tells me that there are rare occurrences when things align in a certain way, and they make you wonder about nature. I like the idea of a miracle once in a while.

My grandson will probably agree, although, since he knows the ways of the birds, he would rationalize the theory that hawks dive to hunt.


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