On countless occasions over the past seven years, my husband and I have found ourselves in close encounters with birds. We both grew up as city folks and had hardly ever seen birds, except in books and aviaries where they were kept in captivity. This changed after the sudden and unexpected transition of our only child in 2012, when he was 19 years old. Since then, we’ve been meeting all kinds of birds in close proximity where we live and when we are travelling. There have been Bald Eagles, Canadian Geese, Red-tailed Hawks, robins, Northern Flickers, and ravens… But the hummingbirds have been our most frequent visitors. They have become our favourite feathered friends.
We see hummingbirds on a daily basis as they come to our balcony frequently to get their supply of nectar from the bird feeder. It is always a pleasure to see them and we feel honoured that they keep returning. Over time, we’ve gotten to know that each one is unique and has its own pattern of feeding. These smallest of birds never cease to amaze us with their exquisite features and survival skills. They seem to know when to visit us at our balcony. Recently, for Leo’s birthday, I made a donation to a charitable organization in honour of him. I had just printed the e-card for Leo and put it in front of his picture when my husband told me a hummingbird had just appeared, lingering on our balcony. That was a wonderful acknowledgement from our precious son.
My memory takes me back to a number of years ago when I had my first close encounter with this magical bird. It was not too long after Leo had transitioned when we went to Mt. Shasta in Northern California. We knew he was with us all the way, as we were getting all kinds of incredible signs and synchronicities. Soon after we arrived with our group, we went for our cleansing at the mineral baths. On returning to our lodging, I was talking with someone I’d just met about Leo and we stopped at the door to finish the conversation. Out of the blue, a hummingbird appeared and it was only a few inches from my face. Instinctively I said “Hello” knowing that Leo was right there with us. It flew away as quickly as it has come, seeing that I was so busy talking! He was saying “I have arrived with you and Dad.”
Leo loved and continues to love going places with us. Wherever we travel to, the hummingbird always makes its presence known in some way. That has happened many times after Mt. Shasta. Last year when we were on Vancouver Island celebrating special occasions, the magical bird appeared to us high up on trees, at the window of a restaurant, painted on a van, and even in a book on birds. (See Harvest Moon Magic.)
Another memory I have is very vivid. It was last February and it was the first day of the Lunar or Chinese New Year. I was recovering from an illness and was still feeling weak. The sun was out in the afternoon and I reluctantly went for a walk with my husband. Within 15 minutes, I was ready to sit down. My husband said he knew exactly where I could do that, so I followed him and ended up in the ‘Inspiration Garden.” I was glad to be able to sit on the bench there as it’s in the shape of a butterfly. Within minutes, I heard what seemed like the sound of a child’s toy with a remote control. It was a high-pitched sound and going very fast. My husband was pointing and when I looked up, it took me a while to register that a tiny bird was showing off its acrobatic skills. With the sunlight shining on it, the colours of the plumage were apparent. It had an emerald green back and ruby red chest. It was hovering in mid-air, going back and forth at great speed. It was fluttering in a pattern that resembled a figure of 8.
We were both mesmerized by the little bird just a few feet above our heads. It looked like it was dancing for us and entertaining us. It seemed like a long time before it flew away. We felt so much joy! I felt much stronger and light-hearted!
We knew this was very special. On returning home, my husband looked it up in his little book on local birds that I wasn’t aware of. It gave a perfect description of that fascinating little bird we just met. It was a young male BC hummingbird!
It made perfect sense to me. When Leo was a young boy, I’d shared with him about the ancient Chinese tradition of paying respects to parents on the first day of the New Year. He was born and raised in the West and I felt obligated to teach him the customs of our ancestors. I told him that children would have to kneel down and bow to show respect and wish their elders the best for the year. I remember how he roared with laughter on hearing that!
Inevitably, Leo never forgot what his Mom said. He has always been the most respectful son. He was showing us with our feathered friend that he was right there with us, giving us the deepest bow with love!
Since then, we look for our ‘resident hummingbird’ whenever we visit the Garden. I ask Leo to show us that he’s present by getting the bird to do something. Without fail, we get a response through our little friend who will flit and fly away, then quickly return to the top of the tree. It is most comforting and reassuring to know that our son is always with us. This amazing hummingbird is our Messenger.
Our friends who visited the Garden with us one day were in awe when they saw our interaction with the resident bird. They wouldn’t have even noticed him perched high up on the tree, much less see him respond to our request to Leo, if we hadn’t pointed him out. I remember how one time, our feathered friend flew right in front of me and he was like a ball of dazzling bright light in the sun. An unforgettable image!
I have tried to capture the images of this exquisite creature. The most stunning has to be the one with the hummingbird on an almost bare tree against a clear blue sky. There were a few red leaves curled up in the shape of hearts. We were on our walk on a sunny day and I had been talking to my son, thanking him for all the signs and synchronicities (SnS) he’d given us over the weekend. I was overjoyed to see the bird and the photo. I knew that was an acknowledgement from my loving son of what I had written just the night before, inspired and guided. (See “Lest We Forget.”) He was, and still is, full of gratitude and grace!
The Hummingbird is considered Sacred and Magical in the Mayan culture. It carries different symbolic meanings among the Native American tribes. It is called the ‘Royal Hummingbird’ in the Andean culture not only because of its beauty but it is also believed to be able to access the three worlds: upper, middle, and lower. It brings healing medicine to those who believe in it.
For my husband and myself, this magical bird has been a most reliable and consistent Messenger from our beloved son. It is a most beautiful being.
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” – Keats.
It brings us much joy, wonder, and excitement. Most of all, our precious Leo reaches out to us with the hummingbird, validating his ongoing existence and Love for us. Leo is reassuring us of our infinite love and bond every time we see the figure of 8 dance. (See “The Infinite Bond.”)
Leo has been saying in different ways “Mom, have fun and enjoy life with Dad,” “Be present in the moment and find the sweetest nectar from within,” “Look how the little bird is so brave and determined; you can find joy again,” and “I am sending you love and healing!”
The hummingbird has been a Messenger of Love, Joy, and Hope for us. We feel Leo’s presence of Peace and loving energy deeply. We feel his optimism and hope for this world.
I have only come to realize what he has been sending us, HEALING, through the hummingbird. The Hummingbird is a Healer!
I have had my epiphany as I write this article, inspired and guided by Leo.
I have been receiving Hummingbird Medicine as the ancient Andeans believed in. This magical creature has helped open my heart and made me able to love again. I am not weighed down by the heaviness of the heart anymore.
Healing doesn’t mean forgetting. It is remembering with more joy than pain. I know my son is closer to us than ever! Our Love keeps us together.
Messages for me and grieving parents:
“Love and love unconditionally.”
“I am fine and I want the best for you.”
“Life is precious; make the best use of it.”
“Enjoy the Sweet Nectar of Life.”
Leo, we are most grateful for your Love and Compassion❣️
WE LOVE YOU❣️
One more SnS
It will be Valentines Day when this is posted. May this be a day filled with Peace and Love and Hope for all who are reading.
Last Valentines Day, Leo gave me and his dad amazing validations of his presence with us. He also gave us a most spectacular gift of Love with this ‘Rainbow in the Fountain.’