Oil on canvas, 24x24
A hummingbird is whirring just outside the kitchen door, this cool September morning. He's hanging there, looking in, or watching me, or looking at his reflection in the glass.
Or maybe, just maybe, he's saying goodbye.
Last summer, Peter told me he was sitting at his desk when a hummingbird came up to the office window - something they never do - and hung there, looking him full in the face, then zoomed off.
That was the last he saw of the hummers last year. It was Sept. 15.
The hummingbirds amused us all summer, darting and fighting and zooming around the deck. It's nearly time for them to go, and I know it. The bluebirds are long gone, the robins, too. Most of the goldfinches have left, though some will spend the winter. In the gardens, the weeds have finally won, and here and there in our yard, trees are turning red and gold. Summer is slipping off, into the cool mornings and the cool evenings.
On the Fire District Beach in Misquamicut a few days ago, fall rolled in on dark clouds and darker water, and the sweet, short sun of a September day. Seagulls turned and whirled and dove for fish, and the beach was empty, the summer crowds gone home, and peace come in their wake.
Today is Sept. 12, my mother's birthday. Autumn was her favorite time of year, and she would have loved this one, with its brilliant skies and its golden days and its bright, happy promises.
Today, also, I have to fly, first to Philadelphia, then to Virginia. Tomorrow, another flight, to Boston. I am a terrified, phobic flyer, but I have to do this, and I feel, honestly, that it is time to get a grip on my terror.
My mother was afraid, too. But she flew. And so, as the hummingbird hung effortlessly in the air, and then darted off, I've come to believe that maybe, just maybe, he is bringing from my mother a song of joy and peace and safety in the air.