Last month, I bought the pictured hummingbird feeder. One of my favorite occasions every year is the end of winter, when we can all climb out of our cozy dens and enjoy the new life around us. I’ve seen hummingbirds in our yard in past years, so I thought providing a feeder could entice them to stick around for a little while. But seeing as we had snow as late as last Thursday, it’s still too early to make nectar and put it outside.
The same night the snowstorm hit, I learned she’s dying.
My hummingbird feeder sits next to the window near my desk, waiting for the weather to warm. I know exactly where I’ll hang it, and I imagine many a hummingbird coming to visit.
She’s had cancer for the past several years. A few months ago, the doctors said there was nothing more they could do. I spent last weekend at her house. Hospice had re-arranged the front room to include a hospital bed, and my parents put an extra twin bed next to it so my grandparents can stay together at night, like they have every night for the past 59 years.
Anyone who’s lived in Colorado for more than a year knows wildlife abounds, even in the cities and suburbs. Set up your yard just right, and you can invite more than the usual species of birds, squirrels, and rabbits. If you’re lucky, you could get a deer or two in the front yard.
Grandma keeps flowers around her back porch. Grandpap built a small house, painted it just like theirs, and put bird seed into it. I think it’s supposed to be for the birds, but squirrels are in there all the time. Those squirrels also wait by the back door for someone to open it and feed them peanuts.
Hospice workers set up Grandma’s bed facing the front yard. The room is bright and cheery, and she can see the neighbors.
By 6:00 last night, I realized no one had thought about what to do for dinner, so I decided to see what I could find in the freezer. On my way to it, I looked at the plants Grandma keeps on a desk near the window, and I saw it.
A hummingbird feeder, sitting empty and waiting for the weather to warm. It looked just like mine with one important exception: hers had been used.
The site I referenced today said the prime hummingbird season here is mid-April to the end of May, and then again from the Fourth of July through September.
Grandma’s probably looking forward to setting up her feeder again this year. It likely has a place out back, among the squirrel house and flowers.
I think I’ll figure out a way to hang it from the tree in the front yard.
It’s almost time for the hummingbirds.