A hummingbird got lost in the shop today. "The shop" happens to be ten thousand square feet mostly of ionizers in wooden crates.
It flew in long curves over the grid of conduit and fire sprinkler line; a couple times, it shot towards the open rolling doors leading to the rear parking lot, lost its nerve, bounced back. From twenty feet below I saw its button eyes and its red chest reflecting fluorescent light.
We didn't have anything long enough to herd it with, which was probably for the best. We whistled at it, waved our hands at it, told it which way the door was. There's no suspended pipe in our shop smaller than three-quarter inch. After a few minutes we went back to work away from the bird and the rolling doors; the bird flew.
Everybody knows at least one random thing about hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are full of facts, like, eighty (80) wing-beats per second on average, and five to ten (5-10) meals per hour in captivity.
Something bigger showed as the hummingbird, obviously frantic, shoved its bill into the tiny lavender and rosemary flowers in the garden an hour and a half later, after making a desperate sine wave over the rows of boxes and breaching the rolling doors. This afternoon in the surreal heat and rosemary smell it was more conscious than most things grasping an iPod. It checked every flower twice, the dead ones too, and darted away over the sea of concrete.
It's night when I leave the shop now. Even with the heat, the plants know it's autumn; unused chlorophyll becomes leaf-litter, the internal latticework so much down-cycling carbon and phosphorous and nitrogen and potassium. Everything dead turns brown, flowers too. I'm not sure how long hummingbirds live.