Hummingbirds and Mourning Doves

Hummingbirds And Mourning Doves

A Rufus Hummingbird. How I envy photographers who can capture these wee birds in crisp stop-motion clarity.

I am a sailor. Above all else. It follows that I am superstitious to a point. I have learned to love the desert and I have also spent good portions of my life living in rural and back wood settings. All those environs have their unique taboos. As a mariner I do not begin voyages on Fridays, I’ve learned not to whistle in the wheelhouse, I never stow cans upside-down. I always coil my lines in a clockwise direction. I am not inclined to ignore omens even when it seems silly. When I do, I pay. I did not hold the traditionally-required ceremony invoking Neptune’s blessing for renaming my last boat to ‘Seafire.’ That beloved piece of my life is now lost. There are actually sound origins for each higgery-jiggery even if the logic is long lost. We all like, even need, the notion of forces greater than ourselves. Just because we don’t understand something does not mean it isn’t so.

A few mornings ago as I opened the bedroom curtains, a hummingbird hovered outside the window. It stayed for nearly a minute, tiny black eyes staring into mine before rising vertically out of sight. I took that as a good omen. Hummingbirds are regarded universally as symbols of happiness and peace. Natives of the Pacific Northwest traditionally regarded them as spirit beings which brought healing, good luck, love and joy. The gods know I could stand a healthy dose of all the above so bring on the bumminghirds; I mean… Oh damn! Later, I sat outside with a cup of coffee as a mourning dove repeatedly flew overhead with bits of grass in its beak. There’s a nest being built nearby. Hopefully that too was a sign of good things to come. Peace, security, quietude. In a tree, at this moment, a dove is coo-cooing its morning song as I write. OmmmmThere is a place in the desert not far from my beloved Baboquivari. It is the ruins of an old mission. The doves are singing the same song there. I am transported.

Coo-dos  to you. A mourning dove.
A dream boat. This is one of my favourite offshore powerboat designs, a Garden 42…”I wannit” Especially endearing was its name ‘Hot Ruttered Bum’

Presently, low finances put few prospects in sight. I am bored and despondent. I have never before been in such a situation. There is usually far more to do than can be crammed into any day. I’m not much good at heaving-to, even in the worst of conditions, and I’m impatient to lay a course toward something important. There are books to write, films to make, photos to take, so many places and people to see and meet. Summer is passing and there’s a lot of folks out there having a good time while I sit around navel-gazing. It’s driving me crazy! Things will change but for the moment my hands need busyness. One activity prompts creative juices for other things. Boredom and inactivity inspires more of the same, as does action.

“As zoned in as a bee on goldenrod.” These characters didn’t know I was there. Wild flower honey is so very good.
Domestic yellow. In a local restaurant’s garden. It ain’t wild but sure is pretty.
These too!
These are wild. Blue Bells I think.
Reach for it! Blackberry season is coming on. The juiciest are always at maximum stretch.
The town buck. “Maybe if I don’t move.” I’m sure some folks wouldn’t even see him or think, “Damn that plastic deer looks realistic.” This old bush ape could only think, “Hmmm, lavender and venison.” He is a handsome little guy.
Jack and I discover a new old swimming hole. I’ve been driving by this spot for thirty years.
Back to boyhood days standing on a railway bridge. An eternal question. “Should I jump?”
Home ? Already? Awwww.
So, how long since a bridge was riveted together? The diagonal braces remind me of a Childhood Mechano set. I suspect theses bridges were built of standard components and put together just like a child’s toy engineering kit. You can almost hear a steam locomotive coming around the curve.
Now THAT’S a planter!
“Geez doc, dunno how to explain it. Kinda feels like my petals are all punched out. And my stamen are underwater. Pistil too.” Morning glory after a morning rain.
The way we were.
Can you see a golden warmth shining out through the windows on a cold rainy night. Can you smell wood smoke and a venison roast in the oven? Maybe baking bread too?
Perhaps children’s laughter? Down a lane behind grand modern faux-faced houses, this was once someone’s home.

So I decided to do something, anything, get the juice flowing. Scrounging through bits of material stored away I found enough to build a storage box that will be mounted on the back of the next trailer. Dumb-assed perhaps, but I feel better. It is no big deal, nor a new career, but the simple fact of doing something is cathartic and no matter how hard you will something to happen, you must also get active. Nothing happens until there is motion. Wishing is not a dynamic force. Chances are I’ll find a trailer with a nice storage box already in place. So then, maybe someone will want to buy a really good box!

At the box factory; my RV storage locker in progress. I had epoxy and other bits to repair the last trailer, now I may as well play it ahead.

Often, when I am writing, I jog off into the internet to refresh my memory about that which I write. I went briefly to look up Baboquivari and I found this. It explains my fascination with the place and why I must return.

Edward Abbey on Baboquivari

Edward Abbey(12927-1989), a famed essayist and writer who lived in southern Arizona, wrote about Babo:

The very name is like a dream; a hard place to get to—jeeps might do it but will be unwelcome; best come on horseback or like Christ astride a donkey—way past the end of the pavement, beyond the smallest sleepiest town, beyond the barbed wire, beyond the Papagoan hogans, beyond the last of the windmills, hoving always in the direction of the beautiful mountain.”

The road to Baboquivari
“Beyond the barbed wire.”

Perhaps I should modify my box to fit on the back of a donkey! Care to join me?

Buzz off eh!

Activity and rest are two vital aspects of life. To find a balance in them is a skill in itself. Wisdom is knowing when to have rest, when to have activity, and how much of each to have. Finding them in each other – activity in rest and rest in activity – is the ultimate freedom.” 
― Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Author: Fred Bailey

Fred is a slightly-past middle age sailor / writer / photographer with plenty of eclectic hands-on skills and experiences. Some would describe him as the old hippy who doesn't know the war is over. He is certainly reluctant to grow up and readily admits to being the eternal dreamer. He has written several books including two novels, 'The Keeper' and 'Storm Ecstasy,' as well as 'The Water Rushing By', 'Sins Of The Fathers', 'The Magic Stick', as well as an extensive inventory of poetry, essays, short stories, anecdotes and photographs. His first passion is the ocean, sailboats, voyaging and all those people who are similarly drawn to the sea. He lives aboard 'Seafire' the boat he is refitting to go voyaging, exploring new horizons both inner and outer. This blog is about that voyage and the preparations for it. In spite of the odds against it, the plan is to sail away this fall and lay a course southward. If you follow this blog your interest may provide some of the energy that helps fuel the journey. Namaste Contact him at

4 thoughts on “Hummingbirds and Mourning Doves”

  1. Don’t jump! The water’s depths so seldom charted. But the storage box entices with radiused corners, thoughtful and elegant design.

  2. Great job on the hummingbird in flight! I think a little bit of motion in the wings adds to the image’s effect. Also love the composition of the buck and lavender, and the ethereal quality of the red crocosmia. The flower you’ve labelled “blue bells” is actually bellflower. I have a bit of it in my garden and I love it’s delicacy.

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