My True Heartwarming Story!

Written By: Debra Campbell - AKA Barefoot Lass

I have had many heartwarming moments in my life but none as enchanting or magical as the events on this special day in particular.

A Magical Moment

We couldn’t have ordered a more perfect day for “tubing” down the old Loyalhanna River. The temperature had been in the mid seventies, the sun shining brightly in a sky of deep azure blue, with just enough white fluffy clouds to make it look almost surreal. My friend Shannon and I were all set, dressed in our bathing suits and lugging the old truck tire inner tubes that just about everyone in our neck of the woods had for occasions such as this. It was one of the first days of school and being that we were young mothers with school aged children of our own, we had the river to ourselves until school let out for the day.

Although the Loyalhanna is a river, it thinned out quite a bit as it flowed through the outskirts of our little town making it look more like a large rolling creek. About thirty feet wide, with the bottom filled with rocks and boulders of all sizes, it was very picturesque. After a big storm the Loyalhanna was famous in our area for rafting. It was a real thrill to race down the course of the river with the current surging around you. That day, the water had been low and came to just above our knees. Perfect for “tubing”! We slipped our rubber tubes into the clear water as we watched the schools of guppies skirt playfully between our feet.

As we settled into our inner tubes, with our butts resting in the hole of the tube and our feet dangling in the cool refreshing water, we both just sighed with contentment, having left all of our cares and worries behind. We had less than a mile to float leisurely to our destination which was called Buttermilk Falls. This small but dazzling waterfall could be considered dangerous after a few days of good rain. But we had nothing to fear on this gorgeous day! The river had been low enough that you could walk across the top of the falls (carefully!) to the other side with no problem. Or, you could sit at the top with the water flowing around you and massaging your body before it cascaded into the bubbling river below.

Time seemed to stand still as we lazily floated with the current. I felt as if we were in a heavenly realm. With the sky above such a startling blue, the trees such a brilliant green hanging low over the water which reflected the sun and seemed to be filled with hundreds of miniature shining mirrors. Our tan skin bathed by the warm rays of the shining sun. The soothing sounds of the water, the crisp scent of the woods. Ahhh...... so calming, so serene!

I had gotten a bit of a head start and had lost track of Shannon who I’m sure was drifting off into her own little state of contentment. My arms outstretched on either side of me with my hands gently resting on the surface of the water, bobbing up and down with the pulses of the very life of the river. I took in the beauty of it all, the sights, the smells, the very essence of nature. Oh the wonder of it all! What could be more perfect? “If only it would last longer.” I thought as I noticed that the falls where coming closer. That’s when I happened to glance down onto the waters surface. Something caught my eye floating close to me. “What?” I said to myself with disgust, “Yuck..... a big giant bug? No... What......... ”As I looked more closely at the drifting lump, I discovered that it seemed to be alive. “What in the world..... Oh my gosh!” I exclaimed, “ it’s a humming bird!”

I looked ahead of me to see how far it was to the waterfall that would be certain death to the small creature. Yes, I had time enough to save him. I glanced behind me and noticed that Shannon was quite a way behind me and seemed to be napping. So it was all up to me. I put my hand into the water and directed it just under the tiny body. Slowly raising my cupped hand I gently lifted the delicate creature up to the warm summer air. To my amazement, I could feel the pulsating beat of the little hummers heart. Oh my gosh.... it was beating so fast! Ten beats a second at least! I had felt as if I was holding the essence of life itself. Oh.... the poor thing must be so frightened!

I lifted him to my face to examine more closely. His eyes were open but he lay still with only the frantic beat of his heart fluttering against my palm. I blew a breath of air onto his wet feathers as if to dry them. My heart ached for him and for the fear that must be coursing through his veins. I whispered to him in a soothing voice, “It’s okay little one, you’re safe now.” I lifted my arm straight up to the sun to warm and dry him. All the while getting closer and closer to the loud rumbling of the falls.

At that point, I had been positioned right in the very center of the river. I maneuvered with my free hand to a bolder that sat peeking just above the water which happened to be within reaching distance, inching myself and the tube behind it. By steadying the tube and then letting go of the big rock, I could stop my descent into the approaching falls. I lowered my arm to see how my little friend was doing. To my surprise, he lifted up from my hand about an inch and hovered there for a few seconds. Then he was once again sitting in the palm of my hand. I blew on him again and whispered more encouraging words in a little singsong voice. I stretched my arm to the sun once more. Magically, the hummer lifted from my hand and this time rose six inches into the sky, hanging into mid air for a few seconds before gently drifting down upon my hand. I was in awe as I marveled at my new found friend! As I watched and whispered words to comfort him, the hummer lifted up again and this time hovered two feet from my out stretched hand. “Oh no,” I thought to myself, “Please don’t go!” As if he heard me, the fine bird lowered itself back into the safety of my hand. But to my chagrin, one second he was there, the next flying high above to the left of me into the trees. He was gone.

My heart sank. “You didn’t even say thank you!” I complained out loud as I sat there with my arm still pointing to the sky and my hand out stretched and at the same time searching the trees to get a glimpse of the humming bird. A sadness and disappointment for something lost overwhelmed me. Low and behold, to my amazement, seconds later out of the blue he came flying down and landed on my hand for the last time. I lowered my arm and gazed down on him. He looked me straight in the eye as he slowly cocked his head and nodded it once as if to say thank you, then off he flew........... taking a piece of my heart along with him.



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