Two years ago, I bought some sage plants to put along the side of the deck. I was struck by the incredible colors that were available – gentian blue called Cambridge, a violet they call “Amistad”, lipstick pink, matador red, and a gorgeous dark pink they call Wendy’s Wish. I also bought one that did not flower, at least not well, but it had chartreuse leaves that smelled of pineapple if you tore a little off the leaf. I was thrilled by the spikes of color that exploded in the hot months and looked forward to the hummingbirds finding them. Unfortunately, where I live is too cold for these flowering beauties to overwinter.
This year, I tried to grow the plants from seeds, although I was not terribly successful. So, when the same company had a sale for “not yet sold” leftovers, I grabbed 5 or 6 of the beauties and put them along the deck. In the past few weeks, we have had the hot temperatures these plants love, but – alas – not much rain. So, the blossoms were puny, and the spikes spindly.
Well, what do they say about the weather – wait three days and it will change? In my case, this summer, I had to wait six weeks, and then presto! Isaias came barreling up the coast. Now, I know that this hurricane is not good news to everyone. So, my apologies if I seem insensitive. But, in south central Pennsylvania, we finally got rain. And plenty of it. Welcome news for literally being in a drought for two months. Rain, glorious rain! The sages soaked up that nourishment, slaked their thirst, and poured forth spike after spike of colored blossoms. Gorgeous!
This evening I came home after a brutal two days at work. The rural hospital for which I work is in financial distress (as are many things in the world right now), and to respond, some positions are being terminated. At the same time, we are being pressed to find places to ramp up revenue and cut costs. Being pressed is bad timing – like rubbing salt in a wound. Every day we work with patients and every day worry each time “Could this person have COVID and be asymptomatic?” The underlying anxiety and stress are unbearable at times. Mostly, I try to move away from the stress and move into gratitude with something as simple as thank-you-Lord-I-am-not-an-ICU-doctor-in-a-hot-spot. That usually gets me through to another day.
So tonight, when I come home, I go out to the back deck and pull up a chair. I reflect on how to stay sane in all the chaos, how to hold a positive energy for the staff I work with, and how to remember gratitude when all around feels like fire ants biting at you. How can I step away from the inflammatory nature of my thoughts? How do I find the sweet spot?
One deep breath later, and in flies a ruby-throated hummingbird. He is smitten by the deep violet sage blossoms, coming in over and over to French kiss them. Another hummingbird flies in, and there is a brief tussle over who gets which flower and then they are back to going in deep. Diving for the nectar. Taking time out of their day to pierce past the outer stuff, and reach for the deepest sweetness, to the place of pure joy.
Ahh. Yes. Thank you, God. Thank you for sending me exactly that I needed to see, to reflect on, to know. My balm to heal the craziness in my head can be found by diving in. Intellectually I know that. I just sort of forgot it today.
So, carry me Hummingbird, El Colibri, great traveler, knower of nectar. Let me follow your lead. I will travel inward to my sweet spot, to the place untouched by the outside world, where all is known, all is well, and all is unabashedly sweet. I am going in deep.