Short Story

Humphrey the Lazy Hummingbird

Artwork by Megan Pelicano

Humphrey sat perched upon a twig, swaying in the summer breeze. His ruby-red crest and green-glitter wings shown bright in the morning sun.

All around him, birds flew between treetop and garden, gathering seeds for their winter stores. Honey bees buzzed busily from blossom to bud, while squirrels scurried high between branches above.

But Humphrey just bobbed on his branch, unperturbed.

As he watched his friends hard at their work, Humphrey hummed and chirped from his merry perch.

He wove melodies from the rhymes of cicada songs. He kept time to the rhythm of beetles’ wings. He borrowed harmonies from the passing tweets of birds in flight and echoed them back with grateful delight.

Whatever the sunlight touched or the blue sky blanketed, Humphrey would hum and sing its particular song, all the lazy day long.

Down below, in the tall grass and cattails, grasshoppers sprung up in frenzied flight and called to Humphrey in their trilling voices, saying,

“Lazy hummingbird…

Why waste the hours with your foolish songs,
in the summer sun, when the day is long?
When the work’s begun, you should join along.
For, in winter, no one’s fed by song.”

Who could blame the grasshoppers for feeling this way? It’s a widely known fact that grasshoppers value only industriousness, ingenuity, and productivity, and - being somewhat pretentiously sesquipedalian - they especially value the use of long words.

Humphrey didn’t mind. He answered the grasshoppers’ scoffs with tuneful tweets and humming harmonies. Staying high above the day’s activity, he continued his work of knitting together each passing buzz and taunting trill; each fragment of feathery birdsong; each sparkle of sunlight that danced upon the simpering stream. He fit them all together like a string of pearls, each silvery note set like a gemstone in the summer sky.

Soon, the birds and bees, and even the grumpy, green-kneed grasshoppers, began to realize something amazing.

As Humphrey hummed and sang his joyful tunes, their work grew lighter; their chores less tiresome.

The lazy little hummingbird wasn’t so lazy, after all. For everyone knows that to lighten the heart of a friend is to help shoulder his burden.

So, the bees ferried pollen from pistil to stamen,
and brewed their ambrosia deep within combs.
The birds gathered berries and seeds from sunflowers,
storing them up for the winter to come.

The grasshoppers; squirrels; the field mice and foxes;
all joined in the work of the blue jay and dove.
While, helpful and heartful, the hummingbird, Humphrey,
sang to his friends from the treetops, above.

You see that’s it’s true that no matter your talent,
we all have a purpose; we all have a song.
And whether by kindness or friendship or laughter,
we all have a way to help others along.

#writingwednesday #mattpelicano #gvlbloggers #wednesdayblog

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