News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

August 24, 2009

The Off Season: The size of a heart does matter

We had a medical emergency at our house a few weeks back, but fortunately, after a little first-aid, an all-night nursing vigil, and a trip into town, we’re feeling a little bit better about things now.

Oh, the injured patient weighed 4 ounces and was about 3-1/2 inches long.

I had been mowing much of the day, an uncharacteristically cool and breezy one for so late in July in Indiana. As is most often the routine, I was following the mowing I do — both riding and pushing — by walking around my yard, weed trimmer in hand, snipping off the last defiant weeds and blades of grass that dare grow around the base of my pines or along our flower beds.

As I worked my way south along the road that runs with my property, I heard the victim before I ever saw her despite the ear plugs I wear for such jobs. She was a ruby-throated hummingbird, undoubtedly struck by a passing car, and she lay in the road, buzzing herself in desperate semi-circles as she tried to get a wing to work that obviously no longer was capable.

I bent down and scooped her up, and with the weed whacker in one hand, I held her in my palm, her heart thumping away so hard that the giant who now held her could feel it.

My wife, working at the kitchen sink, saw me walking toward the door, my hand cupped oddly against my stomach, looking down as if I’d cut myself, broken a bone, perhaps suffered a stroke. She knew that it had nearly become tradition for the two of us to make a fast trip to the doctor each summer so he could suture a gash, check a sprain, or deliver an injection to soothe hornet stings. She met me at the door wringing the dish towel in her hands.

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Mike Lunsford
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