In Search of Nectar


I was uncomfortable, frozen in a not quite upright position, but I had to remain unnoticed. I was standing up after examining a recently pruned lower limb on my Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis). The buzz of wings alerted me to an incoming hummingbird. I looked up to see two deftly dipping their transparent tongues into the cups of the orchid-shaped flowers.

After three or four drinks, one rested on a pencil-lead-thin twig. A third zoomed in from behind me.

Nectar. In Latin, it means "drink of the gods." Originating in Greek, (néktar) is presumed to be a combination of nek, meaning "death," and tar for "overcoming." Surely for the little birds that must search out five times their body weight each day in minuscule droplets, nectar is a triumph over death.

However, for me, to have a halo of these jewels in flight overhead at 5:30 in the morning is the drink of the gods.

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