Old morning ritual: Get up before dawn, brew my tea and take it out on the porch to watch the sunrise. New morning ritual: All of the above minus the sunrise (porch is on the sunset side of the house.) Here at the new house, I may be watching, among other things, the bats.
Yep, we have real bats: wren-size brown ones that like to swoop down and gobble up whatever is fluttering around the porch lights. And guess who was sitting directly under the lights yesterday morning, the first time one of these speedy little bug catchers came by for breakfast and brought twenty of his friends?
One of them flew not six inches from my face, so fast I finally get that like a bat out of hell analogy. What did fearless PBW do? Why, she shrieked like a girl and ran in the house so fast she left flame trails, is what.
I really don't want to be afraid of the resident fauna, so I braved the pre-dawn Moth Tartar feast again this morning. I sat tense and quietly terrified, waiting for them and remembering everything Jeff Corwin ever said about not fearing bats. Jeff, you're a crazy man, do you know that?
The bats never showed up, and as the sun turned night sky into that lovely pre-dawn violet-blue, I switched off the porch lights and relaxed. That was when something that looked like a big silver dragonfly with its tail hanging down sort of floated by the Japanese maple near me.
I peered at it, thinking, Oh, God, what now?
It moved weird -- fast/slow, fast/slow, and not like a bug at all -- and went into the flower gardens. Since it didn't bring twenty friends with it, I stepped off the porch to have a closer look.
There hovering above the white roses was this teeny little critter, no bigger than my thumb, all silver and blue, flying on dragonfly wings. I was wondering if Celestial Seasonings had accidentally added some illegal herb to my tea when I saw that it had a beak. It finally dawned on me that I was looking at a real live hummingbird. Right there, not two feet away from me.
I watched it sample some of the roses, and then it seemed to notice me and delicately floated off around the house. I was tempted to run after it, but I was still kind of stunned and lost in the magic of the moment. I've never seen a hummingbird except on television. It was like discovering a fairy in my garden.
What's the most surprising thing you've ever found in your backyard?