Yesterday I returned home after spending 5 days with my family to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday. This was my first vacation in 2 years, so not only was it wonderful to spend time with my immediate family, but it was additionally wonderful that I could travel, see new sights, and go for walks in a new place. My brothers had not seen me since January, just after I had stopped using the walker, and I have made tremendous strides in healing since then -- becoming stronger, more energetic, and looking "like the picture of health" as someone remarked.
Upon returning home, I went for my usual garden tour, following the paths and exploring the perennial beds around my yard, looking for the flowers that had opened in my absence. After all, during the warmth of summer, a lot can happen in a garden in 5 days. If it is hot, the plants may wilt and die. Or some that have a short blooming time may flower and fade without being seen. Luckily, while we were away the temperatures were not too hot, and there was plentiful rain -- so the garden didn't need me to water it.
The flower I was most excited to see upon returning home was the cardinal flower, lobelia. It likes to grow in the shady woods along stream banks where the soil is rich and damp, and there are 2 areas in my yard where the cardinal flower thrives. Or there used to be. In fact, it is doing so well now that this year I have over 30 flowering stalks of the deepest vibrant red color, and the cardinal flower has even spread outside of the garden borders, as well as to new spots entirely.
As I strolled in the garden yesterday and stood in front of the cardinal flower, I was struck with deep gratitude, feeling great joy and a tinge of sorrow -- that I was standing before this gorgeous plant and able to walk in the garden, unlike last summer this time when I was in the hospital and missed seeing the cardinal flower completely.
Today when I strolled through the garden and came to the cardinal flower, I had a different thought completely. I was reminded that the hummingbirds love the cardinal flower, and I wondered if I would see a hummingbird in the garden enjoying these brilliant red blooms as much as I do. My mother was with me, having come to visit us after her birthday last week, and I told her of the 3 times this year that I had seen a hummingbird -- once when we were in Arkansas in May, once when I was visiting friends in June, and then last week during our family gathering for her birthday in July.
As I said this, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye, and I turned around see what it was. A hummingbird had flown to the pink sweet peas about 8 feet behind me, and as it hovered near the flowers I cried out to it with great glee. I know I said something, but now I cannot recall what. I was SO excited to see the hummingbird -- the first hummingbird I have seen in my gardens this summer. My mother turned to me with a look of complete bewilderment on her face and said, "It was like you just called the hummingbird -- you're magic."
It was like magic, this most recent time that I saw a hummingbird! So tomorrow, I plan to sit outside near the cardinal flower to watch for hummingbirds. Kind of like a vision quest in my own yard. Because I know that the hummingbirds love the bright red blossoms, and sooner or later these joyful little birds will hover nearby. And this summer, not only will I will be there to greet them, but I will also be there to say, "Thank you for Who You Are!"