Reflections on the Future of a Trumpet Vine


Early in the month of June it felt as if our trumpet vine exploded into bloom. I could not recall it coming into bloom so fully in summers past. The hummingbirds were attuned to the burgeoning arrival of the long, coral-orange flowers and appeared en mass the next day, so in sync were they. It was magical.

I make a point to sit each day and spend time in the presence of the trumpet vine, waiting for hummingbirds to grace me with their presence. Hummingbirds are called “time-stoppers” and that is exactly how I experience them. When one shows up, all else fades away, and my full attention is on this extraordinary bird, so small and exquisite, wings in constant motion, her emerald green back shining in the sun as she dips in and out of the flowers, drinking the nectar hidden within.

Each hummingbird is a gift to me, quieting my mind and reminding me of the beauty and wonder of the living Earth. In the late spring I anticipate their arrival. In the summer, I bask in their presence. They are one of my favorite things about summer, their magic lasting all the way through August. They are a source of joy, and in the current state of the world in which we find ourselves, joy is a much-needed holy medicine for the heart and soul. I’ll take any hit I can get.

Yet, as I write of the trumpet vine and the winged ones it brings, I sense something is different this summer. There is a quiet thought that pulls at me, as I wonder if the trumpet vine will last till August. There is a quiet worry that climate change is changing the seasonal lifespan of our trumpet vine. A quiet worry that it bloomed too much too soon, and the hummingbirds may leave before August arrives.

The hummingbirds have always marked the beginning and end of summer for me. When the trumpet vine is down to a few flowers, I begin to mourn the end of my time with these extraordinary birds and the end of my favorite season. It is a ritual born from the living Earth. The thought of them leaving before summer’s end throws me off balance and brings the reality of climate change directly into my backyard; the thought darts in and out like the hummingbirds.

Yes, I know. Be here now, present to the gifts before me. Drinking it in while I can. Keeping the climate change floodgate at bay, at least when I’m with the trumpet vine. Still, I am left to wonder what will happen this summer to the vine and the hummingbirds and the hits of joy that carry me through to season’s end. Left to wonder about the extent of the devastating effects of climate change, how it will all unfold, what it will mean to our way of life, to my daughter and grandchildren’s lives, to the world as we know it.

I see another hummingbird. Time stops. The sacred reveals itself. I drink in the joy like nectar and go back to letting the summer unfold, one hummingbird at a time.

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