Are You as Small as a Hummingbird?

When we optimistically hung two feeders on our porch this Spring, I had no idea we were creating a battle zone. At first, we were enchanted, then amused, and then dismayed as over time, territory and dominance were established. Two feeders with eight holes each yield sixteen feeding stations, yet rarely is there more than one bird at a time on the feeders. Even more strangely, five or six hummers will fight over one feeder leaving the other completely free. Then a single clever bird will glide in from a different direction to land on the other feeder, calmly drink its fill and fly away. Can’t they see there is plenty to go around?

Two feeders with eight holes each yield sixteen feeding stations, yet rarely is there more than one bird at a time on the feeders. Even more strangely, five or six hummers will fight over one feeder, leaving the other completely free. Then a single clever bird will glide in from a different direction to land on the other feeder, calmly drink its fill and fly away. Can’t they see there is plenty to go around?

It seems ridiculous to us as we watch the hummingbirds. But are we humans any different? We seem firmly rooted in the belief that there is a limited supply of things. From land to love, we put great energy into squirreling away and defending what we think we own and control. It’s an illusion! This world was given to us as stewards, not owners. How can we own or control anything when our existence is so tenuous?

Ozymandius
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said — “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
And on the pedestal, these words appear:
My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
- by Percy Bysshe Shelley

And with our knowledge of the uncertainty of life, why wouldn’t we share as much as possible. We are all gifted in some exquisitely unique way. Hiding that gift away is a disservice both to ourselves and the world. Several years ago a woman bought a painting I made of my cat. She told me later that she had suffered a brain injury and bought my painting because on the days when she couldn’t get out of bed she found peace in that painting on her bedroom wall. I had been shamed by a teacher because of the way I painted, and yet it gave this woman peace. As simple or weird as your gift may seem to you, it could be a lifeboat to someone else.

“Please?” by Lisa Bohnwagner

It’s the same with love. We all want love, yet we can be so miserly with it. As I watch the hummingbirds I realize that I hold back in order to protect myself. My heart is so full, but I love discreetly, from a distance through my paintings and these posts. Do I have a limited supply of love? What have I to lose, really? I tell you the truth, whoever you are reading this, that I do love you with all my heart. You are a beautiful, exquisitely unique human being sharing this crazy, confusing experience of life with me, and I’m truly glad you’re here. You may not believe me. You don’t have to. I simply don’t want to be as small as a hummingbird.


Connect with me! I share my most recent paintings and humble musings on Instagram and Facebook. You can find paintings available for sale there and on my web site, as well as new prints available in my store. You can also commission a painting or pet portrait as a gift for yourself or a friend. Another way to share the love!