Friday, February 15, 2008
Courage and Imagination
I took this photo of the female Ruby Throated Hummingbird last fall. It was late in the season and it was cold. She had come to the feeder to start her morning and it just proved too much. She had to shut down, go into torpor to preserve her energy. I have become accustomed to seeing hummingbirds in torpor over the past many years. We've fed them every year for about 10 years now. I've seen them hang upside down on the feeders, eventually fall off and land on the ground. It makes them extremely vulnerable to predators. They are literally helpless. They also look very lifeless. To hold a hummingbird in your hands until they warm up is a wonder. They weigh nothing and then the wings begin to move and their eyes open and they are ready to go!
I am so much in awe of these small creatures. They swoop and chatter and dive at one another to "own" a feeder. One bird book describes them as "fearless and pugnacious". They must be. I wish I could allow myself to be as vulnerable as a hummingbird. Fearless, trusting enough in my own abilities to allow my imagination to soar.
Sometimes creativity comes in waves in small, rhythmic movements toward land from a vastness of ocean depths, and other times it comes crashing in on top of the rocks with a loud roar. The first is easy to become lulled into peaceful complacency. Rather like listening to the hum of the wings of my Ruby Throated friends when they come to the feeder one at a time. This is nice, but it's the wild crashing into and on top of, that's impossible to ignore. I need to be able to make enough noise to "own" my own feeder. There is no creativity without imagination. Imagination can have no reigns. It needs to be able to move into the unknown.