Free at first, free at last, free forever

“Ruby-throated hummingbird. I found it on the walkway to the FBI agent’s house—a chew toy with iridescent feathers. Did it take a wrong turn into plate glass, did a cold front drop it from the sky? I cupped it in my hand and carried it home. I’d keep it till it died, then save the feathers. But it didn’t die, so I put it in a shoebox with a saucer full of red sugar water. When I opened the box the next morning, out it flashed to perform hover-and-dive routines around our TV, now resting on a lampshade, now trying to drink our curtains. I finally caught it with a butterfly net, spooked it into my hand, its heart whirring like a refurbished quartz watch, and opened the door. It shot free then, above our house, its wings renewing with the sky secret promises I would never understand.” – Lance Larsen, “A Brief List of Discoveries on My Paper Route”

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