Inspiration, biomimicry, horses, and lots of science talk.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Lessons of the Hummingbird
I've been dedicating posts to good friends lately and today is no different. Before we get to our honored animal, I want to tell you a little about Mallory and myself: I met Mallory as the girlfriend of a high school friend. She and I got along well, but weren't especially close. Then I had my accident... All my friends rallied around me, but they kept wondering when I would go back to the old Cassie. I didn't know how to explain the "old me" died that day. I never had to explain that to Mallory - she just plain got it - and from that day on we became best friends. We share secrets to life most of the world has yet to realize. Mainly that life is hard and doesn't owe you anything. That doesn't mean you give up, it means you fight harder for what you want. Bad things happen to good people every day and it isn't a punishment; it's just life. We both struggle with fitting in in a conventional world because we're both far from conventional. I'm a nature loving, science nerd who also loves the Chargers despite their dismal record. (Antonio Gates, if you read this blog, hit me up.) She is a writer first and foremost (check out her blog Mal Adjusted here), a 3rd degree black belt, and most easily described as the ultimate firecracker. Mallory also loves hummingbirds, she and I both being believers in spirit animals and animals as signs as to what life may bring us.
So before I go into the hard science of hummingbirds, first I want to explore the spiritual significance and symbolism of them. In the Andes of South America, the hummingbird is a symbol of resurrection. It seems to die on cold nights, but comes back to life again at sunrise. Hummingbirds are seen as messengers that open the heart. The fluttering wings of the hummingbird also move in the pattern of an infinity symbol - further solidifying their symbolism of eternity and cyclicality. Hummingbirds remind us to re-examine how we spend our energy. They are superiorly efficient creatures and they serve as a reminder to be more like them.
Now to explain some of the cool qualities hummingbirds have with science. Hummingbirds are the only bird that can fly backwards. They do so by rotating their wings in a circular pattern instead of up and down. This is also why the hummingbird must beat its wings so quickly and are seemingly tireless. For other birds the down stroke requires very little energy where the upstroke requires great effort. The Hummingbird doesn't get a break, spending huge amounts of energy anytime it is flying. This translate to Mallory and my life , perfectly. We are both firm believers of doing things in life our way instead of the conventional or often easy way. To compensate for these huge energy expenditures the hummingbird consumes more calories than any other bird. If you have seen Mallory and I eat dinner you can see how this is also very fitting for us, we can put down food like no other. If the hummingbird sleeps too long it can literally starve to death. The Hummingbird also has the largest heart compared to its body size of any bird. If you know Mallory you know this is the best comparison of all. This girl loves like no other. Hope you all enjoyed learning about my best friend and another amazing creature.