Name the Color of Rain

Today I learned that hummingbirds see more colors than we do. I don’t know why that fact keeps bobbing into my consciousness now. I find myself searching for a word to describe the emotion that I feel.


Attending to life is an act of love. – Katie Rubenstein

I sit on a rock in the forest, I try so hard to take it all in. The cold, the damp, the blackbirds’ song, the bugs, the soft rotting wood of the tree stumps, the mushrooms, the moss. Leonard sniffs and pushes his nose under the leaves. Grunts. 

I can’t shake the feeling that I am missing something – not doing it right. Although I can’t find the words to describe what it is either. 


My thought process is attending, attendance, lessons. But I know that isn’t the point: there are no lessons. Only attendance.

Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love
the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are
now written in a very foreign tongue.  – Rainer Maria Rilke

This is day 3 of a pilgrimage I felt too broken to begin. I have not been attending. Rather, I’ve been observing the gap between my ambitions and my efforts widen into an iridescent gorge. It’s kind of mesmorizing. Stupefying.

Last week between the cloudbursts, I painted the new birdfeeder and put it in the yard beside the raspberry bushes. I screwed in a hook and hung a net with a ball of seeds under the feeder’s little roof. But the crows are too cunning and they took the ball of seeds – and the net as well. I tried to make small talk with the neighbors and share my little anticdote, but I couldn’t remember the word for crow. This happens in the summer, especially when E. is offshore: it’s like my Norwegian is folded and put in a box in the back of the closet for the season.

Today during a spell of blue sky, I poured sunflower seeds on the platform of the birdfeeder. The neighbors were passing by as I did so and they told me that the songbirds aren’t interested in seeds this time of year, but that I’d surely have sunflowers growing among my raspberry bushes soon.

The world’s most expensive dog dish.

So I’m considering whether that might be totally fine with me.

I pour myself a glass of wine, settle into a deckchair, and watch Leonard drink out of the new bird fountain.

Pigeons see the world in slow motion, and there are mourning doves resting on the electric lines that run from the house.

I think I can imagine what it’s like to have a bird’s-eye view of this sunny window of a wet afternoon.

Random facts:

  • A pigeon and a dove are both named due in Norwegian: doo-eh.
  • The Norwegian word for hummingbird is kolibri.

I have no idea of the etymology of the word, and no idea why they bothered to give it a Norwegian name:

  • There are no hummingbirds in Norway.

I wonder if rain is heavy on hummingbird wings.

I wonder if they see it coming.


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