The Things We Use for our Art; or, On the Death of a Hummingbird


I’ve been plotting the death of a character. (And, no, I won’t tell you for which book. Only know that I work on several things at a time so, no spoilers either.)

So. I’ve been plotting the death of a character.

Today I saw a hummingbird die. (This is related, I promise.)

In our yard are two hummingbird feeders. One I just put up, having heard that there have still been hummingbirds spotted in the area this late into the summer. (The larger flock buzzed through here pretty early this year.) So far? Nada. Ništa. Zilch.
And then this evening? I happened to look out and witness a little hummingbird land on a branch of the tree over our patio. I grinned and rose to my feet, approaching the patio door.

“Hi! Welcome! Ta-da! We’ve two feeders for you here; one in that bush below you and this other one on the window. Take your pick, we’ve an all-night buffet of sugary sweet–” A crow came and just scooped the lil’ guy up. Right while we were talking. Well, while I was talking. Idiot me.

Too stunned to react, my first thought was to disbelieve what I’d seen. And then the crow winged away, a limp little body in its claws. I Googled it. Sure, a crow’ll happily eat a hummingbird. My vision filled with a list of predators as my heart floated in remorse. That little fellow had come for the feeders I put out. I had, effectively, baited him to his death.

I cried. Like a fool I sat at my kitchen table and ugly cried. Over a hummingbird. That I had killed.

And then that dark corner of my writer’s heart whispered: Remember this. You’ve been staring at the blank page all week, searching for such a scenario to play out in your mind. The emotional capsize; the tragic surprise. Remember the tears and the pain.

I’ve been plotting the death of a character…

Categories: Uncategorized

1 comment

  1. Oh my goodness! I would have ugly cried, too 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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