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!
“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)

image:  Hummingbird


  1. exquisite.
    sitting on top of sandia watching them flitter and drink ...
    a memory indelible.

  2. I'm fortunate indeed to have such memories.