Here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States we are usually blessed with mild winters.  My apologies to the frozen regions!  Hummingbirds linger through our winters if their human friends faithfully feed them.  These creatures astound me.  They can stop dead while moving at full throttle; they go forward and backward, up and down, and hover to assess their surroundings.  They flap their wings fifty times a second, and because of their breathing, heart rate, and high body temperature, they have to feed every ten minutes.  Ruby-throated hummingbirds travel two thousand miles from Panama to Canada, five hundred miles of that journey non-stop over the Gulf of Mexico.  In the Americas, indigenous people have long deemed hummingbirds messengers between the worlds.

Within a period of four months I encountered the spiritual power of this symbolic creature.  She showed herself in a trilogy of experiences, first on a November night, flapping her wings (fifty times a second!) in my left ear, grazing my nose as she flew by, and rested at my right ear to sing a sacred song from beyond.  Then on a cold and snowy December day she came to my artificial Christmas tree out on the deck and drank from the bright red ornament.  One Wednesday in February a group of teachers gathered outside at the Stations of the Cross to pray for a family whose baby had been stillborn.  As we prayed the messenger appeared next to me, drinking from the winter-deadened blossom of a rose bush.

She has continued to be a constant, enduring companion.

First met you
“Midway upon the journey
Of [my] life.”

You with hummingbird

Were always here
While I was always there.
At last I hovered
Long enough to catch the
Shimmering glint of wings
And hear the melody
From beyond,
A double-edged, enigmatic message,
Compassion and justice,
Safely sheathed in Love.

More than midway upon
My journey now,
Melody morphs into
Foreground becomes background-
The Ground of my Being
Where I encounter
The Messenger.
Enduring, faithful companion,

© rita h kowats 2014

“Midway upon the journey
Of [my] life.”  from Dante’s Divine Comedy

photo from royalty free vector source,

SHOWING:  Dame Julian of Norwich, a medieval English anchoress and mystic used this word to mean revelations to her from God.