This I Believe

Hillary - Gilbert, Arizona
Entered on April 23, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: immigrant
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Las Alas de un Colibrí

Picture this…the year is 2000. Three immigrants cross the border between Arizona and Mexico. It’s summer and we all know what that means-excruciating heat. Trudging along at night and sneaking around like James Bond during the day; mountains shadow them in the afternoon light, dust packed against their skin, and dust creating a constant cloud around their bodies. The creosote bush brushing against their legs, and the jumping cholla sticking and jumping down their arms. No water, no food, no guide, and no extra clothes. Still they travel conjuntos.

Then one day a man, un mexicano, collapses and dies. His two compañeros stay by his side. Two days later, the sheriff’s office is called and sent to pick up the “dead guy.” Upon arriving, the officers and the coroner find the two friends still with their fallen comrade. Two dogs, a mom and her pup, lie with the man.

The officer tells me that the dogs “apparently hadn’t left the body for those days, because their tracks ended there.” He goes on to say that the coroner couldn’t even get close to the body, because the dogs growled, barked, and charged anyone who came near.

I can only imagine…two dogs flank the body growling a low growl, like the humming of las alas de un colibrí. Such a delicate situation, like las alas de un colibrí. Two dogs out of fear and respect: protecting, mourning, and honoring their loved one. Even though he brought them on such a dangerous and deadly venture, their love and loyalty never wavered.

Soon Arpaio’s pet posse brought the dogs to our care. Two scared dogs in a foreign world, untrusting of touch. Like two children scared of the boogey-man, the two comforted and cuddled each other in the corner. We couldn’t continue calling them “the two Mexican dogs.” And so they were named Mercy and Mary. No one explained their names, but I conjured my own reasoning. Mercy for the kindness and forgiveness they displayed by staying with him, and Mary, well, because hopefully she was looking out for them all.

A man’s name we’ll never know died that day. Yet a chance was given to two dogs from Mexico. It’s amazing how a life can be lost within the seconds of the fast beatings of las alas de un colibrí, but on those same wings life for two is given the chance to soar.

All on the wings of a hummingbird…las alas de un colibrí.