My spirit animal is a hummingbird. This is not an easy admission for me to make. Quite the contrary. I take no pride in having a hummingbird as my spirit animal, or even having a spirit animal at all, but that’s just the way is it. The hummingbird isn’t exactly the paragon of masculinity, nor are they symbolic of wisdom, or generosity, or bravery or many admirable qualities at all for that matter. Would Richard the Hummingbird have been taken as seriously as Richard the Lionhearted? Even more important to my fragile ego, the very notion of having a spirit animal suggests that I adhere to some new agey, woo-woo concepts. I assure you that nothing could be further from the truth. That being said, there are some facts you just have to accept when they’re staring you in the face and the hummingbird being my spirit animal is one of them.
I consider myself a skeptic, someone with an open mind, but requiring proof to accept some outre ideas. I believe that the evidence supports the beneficial effects of massage therapy, meditation and mirror therapy, but that the science behind homeopathy, astrology and anything that describes itself as “energy medicine” is sorely lacking. I could potentially accept spirit animals as a metaphor, but their actual existence seems ludicrous to me. Until I had a dream.
I remember being in a forest, but you know how dreams go. It was vague, shifting, archetypal primordial forest one moment, claustrophobic, but desolate, city the next. In all of it, I was lost. Every now and then, I would encounter some fantastical, woodland creature or faceless passerby, and they would speak to me, always the same question. “What is your animal? What is your spirit animal?” I was wound tight, I can tell you that. I mean, how the fuck was I supposed to know? I was lost and these dream creatures were hounding me. I sure as shit knew, with that crazy dream logic, that none of this would end until I found the answer. My anxiety reached nightmarish proportions as the questions came quicker and quicker and the landscape became more mazelike.
As dreams usually go, there are no specifics, only an uncertain sense of the details. The one thing that stuck with me was cold sweat and a gut wrenching fear. As I wandered and wandered through the confusing, narrow pathways, a collection of hummingbirds gathered around me, buzzing my head occasionally, some alighting on nearby branches to chirp their discontent. I was so focused on my search that they barely registered, but their numbers grew and grew until I could no longer ignore them. Looking up at the multitude above my head, a voice rose up in unison, a thunderous chorus that shook me violently awake.
“It’s a hummingbird, stupid!”
There are times I have forgotten my own birthday, yet, I remember those words to this day. Those exact words. Could it simply have been a dream, signifying nothing? Perhaps, but it sure didn’t feel that way. To be perfectly honest, it’s those adorable freakin birds giving me sass like a bratty teenager that sold it to me. Their contempt for me was palpable and still ringing in my ears as I sat up in bed. I shit you not. So, while I never wanted a hummingbird as a spirit animal, I never wanted a spirit animal at all, I suppose I’m not really in charge of those decisions. I’m just going to flit away now and find some nectar to drink.