Saturday, October 10, 2015
A happy convergence of events, one of those unforeseen synchronicities you would be ashamed to conjure in fiction: I was seated on the couch by the bay window overlooking the front garden, reading The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird (University of Texas Press, 1998) by June Osborne, a paperback I picked up at the branch library for twenty-five cents. It’s not a systematic field guide but more like a scattershot monograph into which the author throws everything she knows, often in the form of tidbits like this: The Portuguese word for “hummingbird” is beija-flor, “flower-kisser.” Some anonymous Shakespeare in Brazil (hummingbirds are a New World phenomenon) came up with that little gem and gave it to the world. And while I was still savoring it, a ruby-throat kissed the bee balm in our garden. It’s the second week of October in Houston, and on Friday I saw, along with the hummingbird, a tiger swallowtail flitting about the crepe myrtle in the backyard and a toad in the driveway.