The Last Time I Saw…

PA060182  His feeder is still hanging, but I haven’t seen my little back-porch bully for more than a week.  Experts used to tell us to take feeders away in the early fall so that hummingbirds wouldn’t be enticed to stay too late. We now know that doesn’t happen – the instinct to migrate will always override the offer of free snacks.I know he’s probably on the way to Mexico with the other summer hummers, but I can’t bring myself to take the feeder down yet.  Suppose some stragglers from Canada arrive in need of sustenance? I’d be a poor hostess indeed if I closed up the Cantina, wouldn’t I?

  Funny how we are quick to notice all the “firsts” in life – first dates, first steps, first day of school. In my woods and garden, we make notes on first turtle sightings, apple tree blooms, daffodil shoots…but seldom note the “lasts” of anything but frost. Even that is only seen in retrospect – a glance back over a list of temperatures and a dawning realization that it might be safe to plant, now.  Maybe humans aren’t equipped to deal well with “lasts” and that’s why we remember so few of them. There are a few I’d like back, if they really are stored somewhere in the memory banks. The last time I carried one of my kids somewhere, before they got too big and independent. A last romp with an old dog before she (and I) got too old.

  Meanwhile, back on the porch,as I’m contemplating what the true last day for the hummingbird feeder will be, I’m accosted by another bully. The little grey titmouse sits on the back of a chair and screeches at me. “You’re early,” I tell her. “Seed won’t be out for another month.”

  I guess she just wants to be first.


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