It died where it lived, among the blossoms and leaves of our garden. It’s a thrill to be so close to such a small delicate thing that normally speeds around the garden in a blur, faster than our human eyes and minds can process. What an honor to find it yet we both know the hummingbird is gone and the crude shell is left.
I didn’t dissuade her from inspecting it, wondering, processing a tangible lack of life in one of the garden’s liveliest residents. We squatted down together and looked at the iridescent green chain mail, the delicate long beak, the outstretched wing better than you could ever engineer. The next day she came back to it again to look, not sad, not afraid, but curious. At the end of my life I hope I have that same childlike curiosity about the next stage of existence, when the being is gone and the body remains.
Just a few feet away the beans we planted were pushing out of the soil in an infant’s stretch, soon to be leggy and leafy. From inanimate beans to living, breathing plants. Who can understand such questions of life and death? How is a child’s mind any less able to process what makes the hummingbird dead and the plant alive? We spend time in the garden and see both, enjoying company and the mysteries of the universe.