This I Believe

paul - miami, Florida
Entered on May 31, 2007

Birds of a Feather

Jardell was different. So different that the Queen Hummer, who as a matter of hummingbird lore and tradition flew personally to bless every new born but did not see fit to visit Jardell when he was born. Jardell was different because he had only one wing. Now the other hummingbirds take on Jardell was because he was different that was reason enough to ridicule and make fun of him…which they did without mercy.

Truth be told, it hurt Jardell and his mother and father. He was told by his teachers over and over again to “remember Jardell, sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you.” “How ridiculous” thought Jardell, “it does hurt…inside. They don’t know.”

He desperately wanted to fit in and be like everyone else. But it was not to be. Jardell’s mother always reminded him that “God has a plan for you.” Jardell loved his Mom for saying that but he knew she was just trying to make him feel better. When Jardell was old enough to fly, his wing moved rapidly like all other hummingbirds, but because he only had one wing he could only fly in a circle. This was yet another excuse for all the other hummingbirds to have a new reason to laugh at Jardell.

WIth what little hope he had that his mother was right and that God may indeed have had a plan for him was crushed by the laughter and the name calling at Jardell’s expense.

Jardell, aware that life is short especially for a hummingbird went about his business. One day, Jardell’s father flew back to their nest and informed Jardell and his mother he had terrible news. The Queen Hummer was feeding by the well on Macy’s farm when she was attacked by a hawk. She is laying injured at the bottom of Macy’s dried up well. Death cannot be far away for hummingbirds while they can fly amazingly well forwards and backwards and even hover they cannot fly up or more importantly down…down the well on Macy’s farm.

At sunrise the next morning, hummingbirds from over 100 miles away flew to Macy’s well to pay their respect and say goodbye to the Queen Hummer. Even Jardell’s mother and father with Jardell on his father’s back flew to the well. She lay at the bottom of the well covered in dirt as each hummingbird took turns paying tribute. The Queen could not believe that this was the end. She was embarrassed to have her subjects see her this way. She hated that God gave her so much and now took it away in an instant.

One by one as her subjects passed over the well. The Queen tried to act dignified but she hurt so much. Jardell’s father was next in line and when he flew in place above the well to let the Queen know how sorry he was to see her die in such a terrible way, Jardell leapt from his fathers back and before anyone could say a word he spiraled downwards to the darkness of the cold well.

He spun round and round in a tight circle drifting lower until he finally reached the Queen who simply looked up at Jardell in astonishment.

Jardell, without saying a word, placed his small but sharp beak under the Queen. He then furiously flapped his only wing but could only slide the Queen along the bottom of the dirt covered well. Once again Jardell wedged his beak under the Queen and against the side of the well. He mustered all of his strength and energy until the Queen ever so slowly was lifted off the ground. Determined, Jardell spiraled upwards to the light at the opening of the well but it was slow and strenuous. Thousands of tiny eyes and pointy beaks surrounded the perimeter of the well straining to get a glimpse of Jardell and the Queen.

The light grew brighter as Jardell and the Queen were finally nearing the opening of the well. With one final surge of energy Jardell hoisted the Queen atop the well. There were gasps of relief followed by cheers. Jardell felt uncomfortable with the attention. The Queen Hummer’s eyes welled up as she declared Jardell as her savior but “my wing” she said “it’s broken” and tears began streaming down her tiny jet black eyes. “I know” said Jardell…”but your wing will heal.”

It was with those few words that the Queen and the entire kingdom of the hummingbirds knew exactly what Jardell meant.

“Jardell,” announced the Queen, “I was foolish and undeserving of your bravery. It is only now I understand your pain. As the Queen looked among her subjects the other hummingbirds hung their beaks in shame.

The years of making fun of Jardell had come down to a single moment in time where the kingdom and the Queen all realized what it must feel like not to be Jardell but how hurtful it is to be singled out and be made fun of.

Maybe it was fate or like Jardells’ Mom always said “Gods plan” but Jardell ended up meeting, marrying and having children with the only other single winged hummingbird in the entire kingdom. The wedding was held at the Queens palace and oh…their children? Well, there was a boy and two girls. And? Oh…their wings. Does it really matter?