Thank you for this, Glenna!
So many things I never knew about the Hummingbird! What a miraculous creature this is! It is quite likely that the bird I caught had gone into a state of “torpor.” Perhaps the warmth from my hands actually did save its life!
My Hummingbird Story
Have you ever seen a hummingbird at rest? Have you ever held a hummingbird, completely still, in your hands? Neither have I; not until one day, it happened.
My mother knocked at the door of my bedroom. I was in my room because she had company and I wanted to get away. When I opened the door she had the gravest expression on her face, and she said, “Karen. There is a humming bird. It’s caught up in the window. Can you come and get it down?”
As I walked into the foyer, I thought about how earlier that evening, when I had first arrived home, I had heard a strange noise coming from the ceiling fan. I remembered thinking how the ceiling fan was making a hummingbird-like sound, a sort of brvvbrvvbrvv. I stood there awhile thinking, “May be the fan has something wrong with it,” and I almost walked over and turned the off, but I didn’t. I remained in limbo for a spell, admittedly a little worried, imagining one of the propellers flying off and killing one of our guests, but I didn’t walk five feet to turn the thing off. Instead, I chose to ignore it and stole straightaway into my room.
Of course, in hindsight, as I was stepping up onto the ladder that my mother and her guest, Carolyn, had gotten out from the garage and propped up for me, I thought, “Why didn’t you turn that blasted fan off?” I suddenly felt mortified when I realized that, all along it must have been this hummingbird, now futilely buzzing up and down the pane of glass, that I had heard brvvbrvvbrvving in the fan an hour earlier. I realized that I had hesitated, not because it was hot, but because I really just wanted to avoid meeting the company at that moment. I had stood there listening to the fan, but the sound went away, and so I rationalized that it had ‘fixed itself.’
My mother told me that she was afraid to climb the ladder and this is why I had been elected to save the hummingbird. It was trying to fly out, but could only skim upward along the long cathedral window. It would reach about a quarter of the way up and then skim back down to rest on the sill. My mother handed me a pair of bright green garden gloves. I put them on and climbed to the tip-top of the ladder. I reached up and, as it was resting on the sill, I just cupped my hands around it and brought it down. It was an easy catch. Its long pointy beak was sticking out through my gloved fingers, and I could see part of its gossamer green wings. As we took it outside I called to my mother, “Get my iPhone. I want to take a picture of it!”
I spread my fingers open and could see the iridescent green of its feathers in the sunlight. The bird didn’t budge. I thought it was badly injured, possibly on the brink of death. I decided to sit on the porch with it in my hands and just let it rest awhile. His wings didn’t flutter; the only thing that moved was the eyelids. I watched its eyes close and then open at regular intervals— every five to six seconds the tiny eyes blinked softly. I just watched him, and thought, “How often does a person get to hold a hummingbird in their hand and have it be completely still?”
Opportunists that we humans are, I had my mother take a video, and then a few pictures of it while we had the chance. At least ten minutes went by and the bird still had not moved. My mother decided to go inside and get a shoebox. She suggested that we put it in the shoebox and then call the wild animal people and report it. I told her that I knew exactly what to feed it—sugar water. We would just get an eyedropper and feed it ourselves. Who doesn’t know how to feed a hummingbird?
I started to imagine what I would do, recollecting when I was eight years old and I saved a pigeon. I took it right from our dog’s mouth and then we brought it home. I had that pigeon for several weeks and every morning I woke up at the crack of dawn so I could feed it before school. When I got home from school I would take the pigeon out of its box and have it fly. I started at the bottom of the stairway and worked my way up, and when it was able to fly all the way down the stairs, we all took it outside and let it go. It flew away.
I followed her in with the hummingbird. My mother started upstairs to get the shoebox and I opened my hands and the hummingbird flew off! It went right back to the same where it apparently thought was the way out. It hadn’t learned its lesson! I had to go back out to the garage and get the ladder because I had already put it away. Once again, I climbed the ladder, and like clockwork, I caught the bird. I walked outside with it cupped in my hands, and when I got to the middle of the yard I opened my hands and it flew away. It flew straight up into the sky, disappearing into the tips of the redwood.
I marvel when I think of that tiny bird and how it survived going through the swift blades of the ceiling fan – for I don’t know how long. He must have been dodging and missing those fan blades because if he had been hit he would’ve dropped and there would have been a dead humming bird in the foyer. But he could fly so fast and was so agile that he was dodging those fan blades like a Matador! And then he had to deal with crashing into the window, and he survived it. And after all that, he only needed fifteen minutes of rest to get his strength back to fly, and flutter, and float, again.
A new thatch of fur appeared by her knee
The horses have forgotten they were ever ridden.
Barns puzzle them, and saddles,
And the way the hay keeps appearing
Walking on two legs through the impatient morning
The woman uses horses to remember sex and how it moved her,
How can you help timid or shy students overcome their fear of speaking in the classroom?
If you have already taught ESL abroad, you may share some of your experiences.
I think people of all ages have a basic fear of speaking in “public.” I am sure we have all been in situations where we are “newbies” on the job, or attending a lecture or a show in which we in the audience are asked to volunteer to come up on stage, or we’re sitting around a circle where we each share a little bit about ourselves to “break the ice.” It is a part of life and essential to be able to overcome the fear of speaking in a group, but it plagues us all at different times in our lives, I think. Letting the students know that this is probably the most common fear of all might help ease the tension. What to do would depend on what age the students are, of course. For adults speaking in class might be difficult because they are afraid to make a mistake; for a child it might be just shyness, or they might be afraid of being teased for what they say in class. We all fear making mistakes or being out of sinc with the perceived norm. It is essential as a Teacher to start off on the foot of “mistakes are okay, that’s how we learn.” I think students of all ages will respond to talking about themselves. It can be awkward though if this is the first thing you do in class. I don’t think it should be the first thing because you have to break the ice first by creating an inviting and safe environment. Of course, there will always be extroverts and introverts, and in-betweens, and that is just human nature. I might bring in an animal, the perfect “strong yet silent” advocate, at least for most people. If it is a class of youngsters, there may be a child who’s been taught to fear dogs, for instance. In this case the dog would be a great teacher to the child who will have a natural inclination to pet a well-trained and docile, tail wagging dog. If bringing a pet to class posed a problem in the school regulations then I might arrange a trip to an animal petting zoo (if children, of course), or, if adults, simply bring in pictures of pets and talk about “our pets.” Even people who are shy to talk about themselves will certainly talk about their pets!
Copyright © 2014 Breakfast on Paper - All Rights Reserved
Powered by WordPress & Atahualpa