Every summer, outside my kitchen window, I hang several fuchsia baskets along the back of the garage. The fuchsias get enough light there to thrive and not so much sun they perish. They form a line of color that borders a larger patio area, a garden-like gathering place in my yard that features a sitting bench, a cherub that pours water into a pool, and flower beds that grow shade-loving plants. Several of the fuchsia I have wintered over, three or four of them more than once. I greet each spring with eagerness, hopeful that the plants with my favorite colors survived to bloom another season.
One of the bonuses that come with growing the fuchsias is that they attract hummingbirds. From my window I can watch the little green-jeweled birds dart from blossom to blossom, extracting whatever it is they find to drink in the flowers. Every day, all summer long, the bird visits, usually at the same time every day, and in the same order. First a pink blossom, then a purple, a red and finally a blue. Once the hummer completes the lineup, she hovers for a second and then like a spaceship in liftoff, disappears up and over the fence, the action so quick she seems to vanish.
With the advent of autumn and the inevitable cold weather that follows, I prepare the fuchsias for a winter inside the garage. When I mentioned to my husband we needed to take them inside, I voiced my concern for the little birds. Do they winter over? What do they eat? Being a tenderhearted animal lover himself, he immediately went out and purchased a hummingbird feeder. Any hummingbird that planned to stay the season would be welcome at our station.
We stashed all but two of the fuchsias in the garage with the plants left behind serving as beacons to draw the hummers to the new feeder. My husband carefully hung the red and yellow tube filled with sucrose between the remaining fuchsias in the hope that the birds would transfer their search for flowers to the nectar-filled tube.
I watched from my window the next morning, knowing the time the first hummer usually appeared. Sure enough, at almost the exact hour, the little bird fluttered into the fuchsias, imploring each of the flowers to give her what she wanted. When she finished the first plant, she curiously moved to the feeder and drank her fill. I could see the bubbles rise in the tube as she emptied the yellow disk that dispensed the nectar. Then, as if she couldn’t break her stride, she moved to the other fuchsia and perused the flowers.
Satisfied that the bird would not starve we moved the remaining plants into the garage. My husband hung the feeder closer to the window. We enjoyed the bird’s frequent visits to our yard. To our surprise we noticed that the bird kept changing color which meant we were feeding more than one. Delighted, we tried to count the numbers of hummers we served. One came dressed in green-jeweled feathers; another appeared to be gray with white along its tail. We never figured out exactly how many hummers we were feeding, but we guessed the number to be at least three.
Watching the hummingbirds in action compelled me to stop and give credit to the Great Designer who gave life to such a delicate creature. The God of the universe, who put the oceans in place, secured the planets in the sky, and inhabited the land with giants like blue whales and elephants, still stopped long enough to give flight to the tiny hummingbird. This was no chance encounter but an act of divine will. And if He cares for such a tiny creature, how much more does He care for you and for me—people created, the Bible says, in His own likeness?
With spring headed our way, I wait for the temperatures outside to rise so I can get my fuchsia baskets growing again. I anticipate the hummingbirds making the switch from the feeder to feast on the flowers I grow. I still marvel the birds are programmed to feed at the same time each day. I am awed these tiny beings thrive in a world where nearly everything is bigger than they are.
The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Anyone who has watched a hummingbird in flight can’t help but know that stillness and sense that God.