The time has come to switch over from the long lasting and excellent garden denizen violas to more summery and heat tolerant annuals. There are daily trips made to the plant sellers as just the right color, form, height and texture for containers and path edges are sought out. Often it is impulse buys that come home instead of a planned palette. So it happened that three red Salvia greggiis were sitting in the large plastic tub, soaking up some water in the shade under the golden elderberry tree, Sambucus canadensis ‘Aurea’ near where a chair is placed for quiet human garden contemplation. I was thinking about where would be the best place for the Salvias to be planted. There are other trios of these wonderful woody perennials nearby in the two cement block planters on either side of the garage steps already.
I might have dozed off a bit as it was very hot and humid and strenuous gardening activity had been done earlier in the day. Suddenly a buzzing, whirring sound was heard that snapped me to full attention. A male ruby throated hummingbird was visiting the red blooms of the Salvias in the round planter closest to me. He was lingering and my first thought was, I am ashamed to admit this, I need to run and get my camera.
But I knew if I moved a muscle it would scare this beloved visitor away and there would be no chance for a photo. So I sat very still, barely taking a breath, and fighting the urge to think about the camera at all. It was quite a struggle, trying to enjoy this miracle before me without wanting to capture it in pixels. Satiated but still searching for more, the hummer then came over to the three quarts of Salvia sitting in the plastic tub, snacking on the nectar of the few scarlet blooms. It was so close to me I could have reached out and pet the brilliant feathers. His red throat was easily visible from such a short distance, the shiny dark green on his back, the black chin and the white belly below the red neckerchief was as clear and sharp as I have ever seen. Snap, went the shutter in my mind’s eye, to save and savor the memory. If I had been holding the camera, the movement to focus and snap the shutter would have shattered the moment. I am so glad I was able to resist that urge.