Sweet Josephine

When my husband, Zach, and I moved to San Diego, we were delighted by many things. Burritos with french fries in them, a temperate climate, palm trees, people riding bikes while carrying surfboards (the equivalent, we are certain, of bikes in Paris with a baguette in the basket - put it on your San Diego bingo card), doors and windows open year-round. We were also delighted to learn that the place we'd be living had (has) both lime and mandarin trees on the lanai.

Unless it's exceptionally cold or rainy (so, rarely), we have the doors to the lanai open if we're home. Fresh air, natural light, the neighbors shrieking at each other on occasion, the unbelievably gorgeous smell of lime and mandarin blossoms a few times a year, and, to my delight, hummingbirds.

I don't know that I'd ever seen a hummingbird before moving here. For a long while when we first arrived there was a hummingbird that visited us at the same time every day, around 4pm. If I was home and downstairs, Murphy the cat and I would both perk up when we heard it, and peek out the door to watch our new little friend buzz around the lime tree. This went on for quite some time, and while eventually the daily visits from our new friend stopped, the lime and mandarin trees have remained a favorite of hummingbirds. I've been fascinated and intrigued by them and will always stop to watch when they arrive. Zach describes the way they move as "digitally", and I think that's the perfect description. They move unlike any other bird I've seen - any other animal, in fact. So tiny, so mighty, so beautiful.

I've been wanting to get a hummingbird feeder of some sort in order to indulge my sheer delight in these creatures, but I haven't done so yet. So imagine how excited I was when two days in a row this week a sweet little hummingbird greeted me at the door when I left the house. On the second day she was fewer than two feet from my face, and she hovered there, as if to say hello. I felt a deep connection. I felt moved. Clearly, this little darling was my spirit animal. What did it mean? I googled "hummingbird totem" and "hummingbird spirit animal", I am not ashamed to tell you (yes I am, a little).

On the second day, the day where she had come so close to me it felt like she was trying to tell me something - to maybe connect on a spiritual level - I came home in the afternoon and saw her again and realized she WAS trying to tell me something! And that something was to back the heck away from her nest.

Her nest! Her tiny, adorable, impossibly small and darling nest, built on a swaying branch that Zach had been meaning to trim, right outside our front door. My delight in this cannot be overstated. I'd wondered about hummingbird nests and how tiny they and the eggs must be, and recently came across a picture. It's so hard to capture the scale in a photo (though a Google image search can help), but man. It's as adorable and delightful as you'd imagine. We decided she needed a name, Zach suggested Josephine, and it immediately stuck. Josie. JoJo! Josephine also happens to the name of one of my favorite songs: it's sweet and simple and it seems coincidentally perfect.

I was able to peek into the nest yesterday, and there was one teeny tiny egg, the size of a jellybean. This morning there were two!

Every time I walk by the screen door I check on her. I can even see her silhouette in the dark at night as I peek through the door like some sort of reverse Peeping Tom, and fret over her.

It seems there are so few things in life that bring sheer joy, and for me, this is one of them. If you want to keep updated on my sweet little Josie, I've been posting updates on Twitter with the hashtag #JoJoMa. Fair warning: there are a lot of exclamation points.

Meanwhile, Josie, keep doing your thing.

Photo by Zach. Camouflage by Josephine.

Photo by Zach. Camouflage by Josephine.