Today I saw what may be the last hummingbird of the year in my area, a female that's mostly green. These tiny flying gems are always in a hurry, but this one looked almost anxious, as if she'd bided too long, greedy for my sweetened water, when she should already have flown south.
Last night a rain came through. In my sleep I was vaguely aware of it thrashing on the roof, pattering on the skylight. In her little nest, this hummingbird must have been cold, much colder than I in my warm bed.
Maybe her mate was there to share body heat, their two pea-size hearts beating together in time, a song for warmth inaudible to all except them in their woven bowl.
Now the sun has cleared the ridge, and she and I will soon fool ourselves again. We'll pretend summer didn't end.
I'll slip on some shoes and go out to the garden to pick the dwarf cucumbers, but I won't actually do it. I've been hoping for a growth spurt, though every day they appear to be the same size, the same distorted shapes. They'd make good baby dills, but there's just the two of them. A salad then, when I finally do pick them.
Under the sun, it'll be easy to forget it's autumn. My hummingbird, drinking rain-water out of the morning-glory trumpets, must be as reluctant as I to let summer go.
It wasn't long ago that I stood beneath the red feeder while she and six of her friends or family zipped around me. I'd been astonished to feel the wind of their wings on my face. I'd been a little envious of their play, too.
I'm 40, but there's a boy in me who refuses to move out of the house of my mind, and it was he who thought to catch one of them. It's easier than one might think.
I stood statue-still, my index finger and thumb poised beneath the feeder. The seven hummers hovered and zoomed and peeped. Then one, a coffee-brown male, stopped just above my waiting trap and I had him by his feet, which were as black and thin as pencil lead. I was gentle and didn't hold him long, just long enough to have felt as though I'd joined their game of chase, just long enough to have gotten a close look at his iridescent orange bow tie.
Now my green friend is dipping into the purple petunias in the basket hanging above my deck. Of course, I can't be sure that she was among the seven on that day I caught the brown male, but I'm good at pretending. So I think I know why she's still hanging around. She may be middle-aged, too, and there's a girl inside her who won't fly away. She's not anxious at all. No, she's asking me to come out and play, out there in the sunshine where it's always summer.