It happened yesterday. I had just started to make the morning coffee in the kitchen when I heard these frantic fluttering sounds against the window pane. The hummer had flown in through one of the open side panels of the window box and had been unable to find its way out again. It could see the garden through the glass but found itself trapped behind the invisible barrier. There it was, its wings and back a lovely iridescent blue-green peacock sheen, its pin-prick eyes glinting in the sunlight, its beak a needle point. Breathtakingly delicate, immaculately made.
I went out to the garden and raised my hand to release my little friend, and was astonished at the speed with which he zipped out, making a beeline for the nearest treetop, where he came to rest and perched a while, gazing down at his rescuer with what I chose to believe was relief and gratitude.
It seems almost absurd, with a creature so tiny, to sense the whole episode as an encounter with the wild. But that's how I felt. It was a special joy and a privilege for this large, clumsy, and at least semi-conscious being to have been so closely in touch with a creature that somehow represented the essence of life itself, a distillation of everything that is miraculous and beautiful about what we share in being in the world.
It was as though I had held life itself in my hand.