Walking in Circles - Water Birds

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By Dave Coulter

Rough Edges

This heat wave and dry spell has certainly forced us all to revisit our hot weather coping skills. We seek out shade and water. We seek calm in a time when tempers too easily can flare up.

Perhaps it was all for the best that Fourth of July was midweek this year. If you weren't taking time off around the Wednesday, many of us just went to work. The extreme heat made this year's Fourth one not to be savored. Fireworks shows were called off due to the weather. Who really was in the mood to jostle with thousands of other souls barely staying cool?

Not me. After dinner I chose the Path of the Hose for holiday enlightenment. I watered E's garden once, twice, in some cases three times. It didn't seem like I could overdo it. The squashes and potatoes leaves were withered in the late afternoon, water fell away into the cracks in garden soil. These are not neglected spaces mind you, they have been getting water sometimes twice a day.

As the sun set firecrackers could be heard popping off here and there. Feeling lazy, I found a spot in the yard where I could sit in the parched grass and water all three gardens from one spot. The hose nozzle could be screwed down to a tight stream, a jet that travels a good twenty feet. Imagining myself a rain-maker I arced the stream almost vertically to create the illusion of rain over E's modest herb garden.

It was then that the hummingbird went zipping through the column of water, and hovered in the midair nearby. It was as if he was enjoying the mist that drifted away from the jet of water. I was delighted. I waggled the hose one way, and the next. The hummer followed, keeping near, but at a comfortable distance. This little back and forth went on. I hollered for the others to come see the aerial dance between the water spray and the hummingbird.

Soon their were three of us on the lawn looking up at (now) two hummingbirds getting misted about twenty feet above the lawn. I'll never know how they found me, perhaps it was just a chance encounter. Later on we did shoot off some fireworks, but the memory today was of the hummingbirds in the evening mist.

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