As the sun shines and illuminates spiderwebs in the early morning, I straighten my shoulders and tilt my face toward the rays. The Arizona Spring sun is strong even at 8 a.m. and I glance away to see a hummingbird with magenta mustache marks hovering by the crimson aloe blossoms. The buzzing sound alerts me to the bird’s proximity and his flashy colors sparkle in the light. I turn to feel the sun on my staff neck and breathe a sigh of relief as the warmth hits my arthritic joints. From this direction, I smell creosote and palo verde blossoms — a delight. Bees fly from one flower to another with their hind quarters heavy with pollen. I rise to touch the smooth aloe stalks but I stop myself from cutting a branch. The bees and hummingbirds need the nectar.
A brightly colored yellow and black oriole arrives to shock my eyes with its stark color contrast as it sips nectar. I refill the birds’ water dishes and clean the hummingbird feeder. Inside, sugar water for the hummingbirds cools on the stove. I am reawakened from a reverie by the loud call of the oriole as it moves from one aloe to the next, inserting its bill and tongue to sip nutrition. My slightest movement send the oriole away, while hummingbirds are more tolerant. I hear doves cooing in the distance and view a mother dove on a nest on my back porch. The bird eyes me closely but stays put even when I am directly below her. Another mother dove with an iridescent blue patch on her wing sits on a small nest built on a cactus pad. I love hearing the house finch call as she decides whether to come close enough to me for a drink.