The hummingbird feeder hangs empty next to feeders full of safflower seeds. In summer, the tiny birds fed for their long trek south. Now, the hummingbirds are gone.
Wiry finches bounce back and forth between three feeders. Birds coast from the outstretched arms of the trees, gliding smoothly for their respite. Bluebirds attend to mealtime as a pack, multiple plain females, and males resplendent in blue wings and orange breast-coats.
The September air holds a tiny hint of what is to come, a reminder that the seasons change whether we want them to or not.
How I will miss the hummingbirds, delicate yet ambitious, fluttering around the bright red feeder.
A male bluebird stands on the deck rail between feeders, enjoying the bounty of seeds I purposely put out. A cardinal joins him, also focused on repast, unaware the hummingbirds are gone.
The world spins, days grow shorter and colder, light disappears. The hummingbirds will return, as sure as I know my lilac bushes will bloom in April.
Walt Whitman mourned in spring,
“When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.”
In autumn, we celebrate harvest, and release nature in a blaze of glorious color. Does letting go ever feel just, in a world full of injustice? It does not, and the September chill will forever remind me of what we lost, just as Whitman mourned in spring.