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When Mom was battling breast cancer, she spent countless hours out in her little side garden. Much of that time was shared in the company of a family of blue jays who became tame enough to take nuts from her lap. Hummingbirds frequented that garden, as well, and the feeder was often the site of fierce battles between hummers. In the years since her death I have felt that blue jays and hummingbirds are messengers sent from Heaven, just little reminders that she is there and still busy loving us.

This morning I headed out to the back yard fairly early to get some weeding in before the day heated up. No sooner had I walked outside than I heard Mr. Blue Jay screeching “Good morning” as he flew across the yard. I answered him, of course (as I always do), and shortly Mrs. Jay arrived, as well. Their presence was a benediction and brought such a feeling of peace.

I did a little weeding (pooped out way too soon for what still needed to be done) and then sat down to catch my breath. A small sound drew my attention across the yard to the Rose of Sharon, where a hummingbird was busily drinking from the flowers. As I watched, he visited every single blossom on the plant, then moved over to sample a couple of tomatoes (unsuccessfully, of course) and the red crystal hanging from my wind chime. Finding no satisfaction there, he then headed to the opposite side of the yard, where he sipped from every blossom of that Rose of Sharon plant, too. Tomorrow morning I will retrieve my hummingbird feeder from storage and hang it from the newly pruned lemon tree, to encourage him to invite his friends for more visits.

A hummingbird visits a feeder

A hummingbird visits a feeder

Georgia has big plans for the back yard, and we all have been working diligently to clear out, prune, and generally whip it into shape. Having the critters come and enjoy it with us is a gentle reminder of why we need to be gentle stewards of our planet…starting right in our own back yard.