At seven a.m. on a spring morning, rays of sunlight would peak through the crevices of my blinds, while my eyes slowly opened. The birds sang their little songs to create a symphony of chirps with high and low whistles contributing to beautiful melodies.
The little things in life matter most to my father including the birds and their singing. He became fond of birds, and this led him to start feeding them. Eventually, birdwatching became a hobby of his. Hummingbirds happen to be my father’s favorite. Amazed by each one’s uniqueness, he would ooh and ahh at their exciting colors and beauty along with their elegant flight patterns. He would tell me, “Did you know hummingbirds happen to be the only birds who can fly backwards? They can even fly left and right!”
My eyes rolled back into my head every time. Through the living room window, his eyes stared so long they turned to drywall while still maintaining a smile. There he would just exist in that second, no matter how busy he was. No matter how busy or how hard life got, he knew the importance of appreciating the small beauties in the world.
In 2012, my family and I moved to a bigger town in Michigan. We migrated all the way from New York where my friends and family remained. My first moving experience became a blur, but the feelings I felt resurfaced with every move I encountered. It pained me to be leaving my friends and family. My heart was ripped from my chest, and I knew things would get worse. Starting a new school was hard; everyone saw me as just some new Hispanic girl with funny glasses.
My household didn’t help either. Work swept away my parents constantly making me think they didn’t want to be with me. Why did things have to change? Memories of those reoccurring bad days never left my head. Every day conjured a withering storm even if it happened to be a bright sunny afternoon. I remember thinking my parents suck for making me move, or I wish we could go back in time.
After another day of adversity, I came home to my dad installing our old hummingbird feeder. I ignored its presence until later that day. Through the window, a bright light caught my eye. The most beautiful bird appeared right before me. It emerged with a cap blue as lapis with a white belly and iridescent shimmering wings. I gazed in astonishment, admiring its gorgeous print. The hummingbird hovered and its wings made little vibration noises. It started moving all around the feeder, left and right, just as my dad said. My curiosity grew with each flutter. As it flew away, it backed up and flashed forward, leaving my house and my sight—but never my thoughts.
Something so little has never made me feel that way. I’d never taken a moment to look at a hummingbird before. The feeling inside was strange but delightful. I felt bad for thinking my dad was crazy for his admiration of the hummingbirds, but I think I finally saw what he always has. For just a moment, I felt my stress and sadness escape my thoughts. After seeing the bird’s beauty, I felt… joy. Although the bird didn’t acknowledge me, it hypnotized me. I spiraled into bliss, a perfect world where bad things such as leaving my family and friends behind faded. I lived in a world with new polish, one that felt free. It was like when lovers see each other at first sight and nothing else at that moment matters except for the two of them.
I never stopped thinking about it or what it could’ve meant. Eventually, we kept moving, and my dad kept putting up the same feeder year after year. I would keep feeling lonely, but when I remembered the hummingbird, my mood would shift.
Hummingbirds don’t know they possess only a small amount of time on earth, but still live in the moment. Their tasks in life exist in the form of difficulty, just as ours do. I should have taken a deep breath every time my emotions combusted and reminded myself about the little things in life that make it so precious and lovely. At any point where stress and anger or sadness hijacked my mind, body, and soul I should have thought of the little things that kept me going. Instead, I let the stress consume me and forgot how much luck I possess.
Life is a short, beautiful complexity. A sensation was born the day I saw the hummingbird. My dad and I finally shared the same vision. My perspective changed, and now whenever there is a bird at our feeder I go and stand with him to watch.
On our own, we must take a second and appreciate something as small as a hello. No matter how fast life feels or how busy you get, you must come up for a breath of air. You must take a minute and interrupt what you’re doing to remind yourself to enjoy the little things in life.
A hummingbird doesn’t speed through or yield to time but lives life in every instant. Their wings flutter so quickly, they create the illusion of a stop in time. You too can stop time and live just as joyful as they do. Just sit and be still, exist in the moment, and enjoy it. Think about every instance in which you exist, value it. In another universe you may not get that same opportunity.