Click here if you don’t see subscription options
Katie YenSeptember 14, 2023

Is what I thought when the hummingbird buzzed behind me in the garden,
The beating of its wings tickling my ears and seizing my heart as I wondered at the
Me on my knees with my hands in the earth, caught unaware by the flicker of its jeweled
As it flashed in the sunlight, disappearing into a zipper in the sky
Before I could catch my breath and behold its beauty.

I am eager for it to reappear, but only catch glimpses before I decide
That the only way it will come to me is if I am still.
That is the only way to gain its trust.
I force myself to slow, to slow and wait, and my mind wanders

To that mysterious creature, and I wonder if this is indeed the fairy of lore
That appeared to simple minds as they walked through the forest in search of
Berry treasure while ever wary of danger, or if these were the spirits
Like the kind worshiped in the days of pantheism and ritual sacrifice,
Or even the era of spontaneous generation,
When one saw flickers of sparks pass by and swore it must be magic, but

Perhaps the angel Gabriel was in fact a hummingbird, and when he spoke to Mary
It was not with words but the beating of wings, humming a song, a promise, a secret,
The same way that a hummingbird whispers new blessings into the ear of each and
Flower blossom it visits

But as I consult the internet during my meditation,
I am informed that there are no hummers at all in the Middle East,
Though their closest counterpart might be the Palestine Sunbird,
Which hovers to sip nectar but is not at all as graceful

Though this does not deter my theory, but instead makes it all the more spectacular,
And therefore, all the more believable,
That God sent a tiny angel with a chinstrap made of feathered jewels,
Shimmering there in the candlelight
As it divulged to one girl
The greatest secret in the universe

The latest from america

An important international conference in Rome on May 21 marks the 100th anniversary of the first Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in China. Here’s what you need to know.
Gerard O’ConnellMay 20, 2024
During an audience with a delegation from Loyola University Chicago at the Vatican on May 20, Pope Francis said, “Education happens on three levels: the head, the heart and the hands.”
Pope FrancisMay 20, 2024
The proclamation comes just two weeks after the Jesuit priest who founded Homeboy Industries received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Joe Biden.
People pick through discarded produce at the central market for fruit and vegetables in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Friday, May 10, 2024. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
Argentina has been in a state of economic upheaval for years with two constants—a continuous increase in poverty and corresponding efforts by the Catholic Church to respond to that need.
Lucien ChauvinMay 20, 2024