Dirt: the Movie features an exceptional woman ( one of many) who became an environmental advocate in her native lands. Wangari Maathi won the Nobel Peace prize in 2004 for her many efforts to improve the conditions in her country, Kenya. In 1977, she began the Green Belt Movement which helped woman plant trees to provide wood for cooking, fodder for livestock, material for fencing, protect watersheds and stabilize the soil improving agriculture. She has helped and encouraged the plantings of millions of trees.
She tells the story of a Hummingbird in the movie, inspiring and rich with the flavor of Africa that goes something like this:
Fire broke out in the forest, raging and burning. The animals rushed to the river’s edge and watched as their forest burned not feeling they could do anything about this devastation. A Hummingbird could not stand this and decided to do something. It went to the water’s edge and picked up a drop of water and rushed to the fire and dropped it on the fire to help put it out. She went back and forth and back and forth much to the others surprise. The elephants and other questioned her, how could this possibly help? How could she make a difference? The Hummingbird replied: I am doing the best I can”.
Each of us has our dreams. Do you ever get discouraged? I know sometimes I do. I see the problems with land use, mono-crop agriculture, the rm pesticides cause on soil and bees and wonder how long will it take us to wake up and reclaim a relationship to this earth? to this soil we walk on every day? When I hear about folks like Wangari Maathi who made a difference one step at a time in the face of adversity I am reminded to simply do the best I can.
What does the hummingbird mean to you? This little bird delights us with her flying ability and how she stores food in early fall. These birds seem to migrate south based on shortening daylight. The hummingbird finds its primary nutrition in insects. They especially love baby spiders. Nectar gives them instant energy for their high metabolic needs but the fat, oils, minerals for their overall needs come from insects they find while flying or in the flowers they seek for their nectar. And contrary to local lore, they do not suck nectar through a “straw” but grab the sweet droplet of energy with a tongue.
In my dream work with animal totems, I found that the hummingbird is associated with air (intelligence, higher thought, the ability to see the bigger picture.) They seem to be constantly in motion, rapid wing beats that represent persistence and a feeling on endlessness or infinity. Many cultures in the Americas believed the hummingbird represents rebirth.
I would like to suggest that we spend a few moments today contemplating this marvelous, tiny creature. Spring is here in New England and soon these delightful birds will be back.
Persistence, knowing I am enough, and knowing I am doing enough in this moment are great personal, daily reminders. One more question: do you dream of hummingbirds? Let me know.
Enjoy this wonderful day. Judith