Close Encounters

As I exited the dining hall and stepped out onto the deck, I was greeted by an inquisitive hummingbird. I stopped in my tracks. He seemed very curious, zipping around my head and I waited patiently while it examined me from several angles, wings buzzing loudly. I wondered if my red backpack was the attraction.

It didn’t take long for the little guy to decide I was neither a threat nor a source of food. He flitted past me to the feeder.

I had previously noted the feeder that Father had hung from the rafters above the deck but had not seen one hummingbird. Today, evidently, there was a lunch hour rush.

I slinked slowly towards the feeder and watched in amazement as three eager visitors took turns at the nectar. They were very handsome with bright iridescent green backs and two of the three had the ruby coloring at their throats. I stood completely transfixed.

Maeve busted through the front doors and out onto the deck, narrowly missing me. The tiny birds scattered.

“Oh!” I exclaimed.

“I scared you! I’m so sorry!” Maeve stepped back.

“It’s OK. I was just watching the hummingbirds.”

“I probably scared them off too. No worries. They will be back soon. They are hungry creatures.” Maeve nodded and smiled.

“I’ve never seen so many at a feeder before.”

“It’s kind of surprising that it is so popular since camp is so busy. Just goes to show you that Father Brian can mix a mean cocktail.” Maeve shrugged. “Hey…I’m just thinking the hummingbird might be your spirit animal.”

“My spirit animal? Why would you say that?” I asked as I looked at her confused.

“In Native stories the hummingbird represents wisdom and healing. Sounds like you!”

“I don’t know about the wisdom part. I’ve made some mistakes here at camp.”

“Don’t we all? As long as you learn from them and don’t make the same one twice. Am I right?” Maeve patted my arm and then jogged away towards the kitchen.

“One hundred percent!” I called after her. She did a turn and waved back at me.

Sage advice from another teenaged camp counselor. They all seemed to be able to spread their hope, happiness, and zest for life. I realized that I had enjoyed the interactions with the counselors more than I had ever anticipated. I felt as though I had forged so many new, wonderful relationships with them. Another unexpected gift from camp.

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