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A Tiny Love Story

I've learned to watch for the tiny moments. Moments so simple that they will never make a family scrapbook. Moments that are quickly forgotten (if they're noticed at all) while we speed through our days. This is the tale of one such moment … a tiny love story

Stifling a yawn in the grocery checkout line, all I wanted was to BE DONE. The cashier methodically scanned items from the overflowing cart as I mentally tallied the hours of work still ahead to unpack everything and restock the shelves at both inns. It would be another late night.

Lulled by the rhythmic beeping, I was so zoned out that I almost missed it – a flicker in the corner of my eye.

There it was again.

A tiny ruby-throated hummingbird had become trapped inside the entrance of the store. He darted frantically among the shopping carts, plastic chairs, umbrellas … bouncing off skylights and windows … hovering in mid air looking this way and that … searching for the way out.

I knew I had to help so I left the cart (Wayne stayed with it!) and began trying to guide the tiny bird toward the open doors. For ten minutes, I followed the bird from one end of the entry to the other, pointing and softly urging, “This way, baby,” “Over here ...” I knew he couldn't understand me, but I hoped my earnest energy would somehow show him the way.

A few times, the tiny bird hovered right in front of me as if asking for help. Each time it came close to the door, a shopper would swoop through and startle it back into spiraling flight.

Several people looked up to see what the crazy woman was talking to. “Oh a hummingbird,” they would exclaim before rushing on into the store.

A few stayed to help. An older man. A young man. A store employee.

Together, we brainstormed how we could help. And then, in one last dash for freedom, the fragile bird crashed into the front window, collapsed, and lay motionless on the windowsill.

In the hush that followed, the older man murmured, “My son held a hummingbird once. Right in his hand.”

I whispered, “Maybe you could try.”

He climbed up carefully on a bag of charcoal briquettes, reaching high above his head, feeling his way along the sill until he found the wee clump of feathers.

We all held our breaths as he ever-so-gently curled his fingers and scooped the bird into his hand.

Walking quickly outside, he opened his hand.

The bird did not move.

No one spoke.

And then, the tiny creature fluttered. Sat up. And with a squeak, flew on wobbly wings to a nearby tree.

In a rush of relief, the world sped up again. We each headed off to the rest of our day … smiling, waving, calling thank you over our shoulders.

I thought, later, that it seemed odd to say thank you for such a thing. But then, again, it felt perfect.

Thank you for seeing.

Thank you for caring.

Thank you for stopping in the rush.

Thank you for the pure joy of making a difference … together.

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