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Perspective: The strength of a hummingbird


The hummingbirds are on their way.

All summer long I have marveled at their iridescent beauty, their speed, their lightness of flight as they darted amidst my flowers or to and from my hummingbird feeder. Often I have heard the whir of their wings before I have seen them. Wings that beat 4,000 times a minute can do that.

Some of these tiny, feathered friends will travel over 1,000 miles often to Central America or Mexico as they migrate south for the winter. Hearts that beat over 1,260 times per minute can do that.

In addition, hummingbirds are capable of Olympic-style maneuvers such as hovering or flying up and down, not to mention they are the only bird to fly backwards. And although they weigh less than a nickel, hummingbirds can cross hundreds of miles of open water non-stop, often battling fierce winds or heavy storms. An innate desire to persevere and succeed can do that.

So, in many ways, the hummingbird’s strength reminds me of the strength of our students and teachers as they journey into a new school year. In other words, amazing! For despite continued complications from the Pandemic, the multiple challenges to educational curriculum and books, the horror of Uvalde and other school massacres, our teachers and students return resolute, determined, and brave enough to begin again. Dedicated teachers and students fortified with souls of compassion can do that.

So dear teachers and students as you fly forth into this new school year, remember the grace, beauty, and strength of the hummingbird. And although the hummingbird has miraculous abilities, nothing compares to the inspiring strength that is in each of you.

Marnie O. Mamminga has been a professional essayist and features writer for more than 20 years.