“By the way, did you fellows know that a hummingbird weighs as much as a quarter? Do you think a hummingbird also weighs the same as two dimes and a nickel? But then she asked a question of her own: How do they weigh a hummingbird?” (Calvin Trillin, Enough’s Enough)
Saturday, June 28, 2014
How Do They Weigh a Hummingbird?
I sit among the salvias and attract curious hummingbirds, even when I’m not wearing a flower-colored shirt. I remember the hummingbird feeders on the deck at St. John’s College, Santa Fe, where the Elringtons lived—the British Brigadier General who taught us Latin, and his wife who was a nurse there at the college. They seemed so exotic then, the hummingbirds, as much as the mah jong which we played when I visited. (And the Latin which I only consciously used again some thirty years after I learned it, translating Roman milestones in the Alps.) I wrote about the hummingbirds as little ruby-throated djins, and they do still seem like magical spirits, even in my own garden, hovering near my chair, next to my ear. To be so tiny and so quick; to live on flowers—such a life to live!