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Magical Moments

The Secret Garden: Hummingbirds & butterflies make High Island Roost a magical place

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Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013, Side yard at the Roost
Side yard at the Roost Photo by Katie Oxford
Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013
Ruby-throated hummingbird in flight through American Beauty Berry Photo by Katie Oxford
13, Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013, Where others had worked too
Where others had worked, too Photo by Katie Oxford
 Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013, Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary - Egrets and a Roseate Spoonbill - tending their hatchlings
At Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary, Egrets and a Roseate Spoonbill tending their hatchlings. Photo by Katie Oxford
11, Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013, Ruby-throated hummingbird
Can you find the hummingbird? Photo by Katie Oxford
Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013, Side yard at the Roost
Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013
13, Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013, Where others had worked too
 Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013, Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary - Egrets and a Roseate Spoonbill - tending their hatchlings
11, Katie, magical moment, butterflies and hummingbirds, January 2013, Ruby-throated hummingbird

Last May, I found utopia.  As journeys go – I found it on my way to someplace else.

I had traveled to Smith Oaks Bird Sanctuary in High Island, Texas, during the peak season when eggs were popping open in their nests.  
 
From an observation deck overlooking a small island, I watched roseate spoonbills and egrets busily tending their hatchlings. On the bank below, an alligator lounged as motionless as a log.
 It’s when I was leaving here that I discovered the little utopia. A thimble-like plot of land, directly across from the entrance to the Boy Scout Woods. 
 
In another part of the sanctuary, I walked on wooden planks to a gazebo surrounded by long vistas of lush green marshland. The Gulf waters beyond. 
 
It’s when I was leaving here that I discovered the little utopia. A thimble-like plot of land, directly across from the entrance to the Boy Scout Woods that looked straight out of the book, The Secret Garden. Nestled smack in its bosom was a cottage with a sign. The Roost. 
 
Across the front in full bloom was a row of American Beauty Berry. Hummingbirds, I couldn’t count them all, dashed about feeding. I was mesmerized. I grabbed my camera and crouched down in a ditch near by. The rest was like watching the movie, Fantasia.
 
Only this was real.  
 
Hummingbirds darted in and out – from every direction – feeding on the berries – probably laughing too, I thought, at this human holding a camera. How humorous. They buzzed away sounding like The Jetsons.  Seemingly saying, “Now you see me - now you don’t!”  
 
I drove home to Houston that afternoon but the place kept calling to me. A few weeks later, I returned to The Roost – happy to see that so had the wildlife.
 
This time, I trespassed. I slipped quietly inside the front yard and found a rock to sit on. Hummingbirds zoomed. Butterflies flickered. Ants worked below. Everything small was feeding on something and it was beautiful.
 
Later, I moved to another spot on the west side of the house and read where others had worked too but had written their names on wood. 
 
I still think of the place. I see the details of that day and I’m not the human holding the camera.  I’m an ant or a purple berry.
 
Living there in a thimble of life. Harmony.

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