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  • Writer's pictureKonrad Piwowarczyk-Saban


Updated: Oct 9, 2019

The first breath was enough for Kuku, who had just hatched from the egg, to understand that the Greek air smells sweetness, happiness and serenity. It's a smell of the sun, the olive tree, overripe wine, figs and pistachios. One inhale was enough for the tiny heart of the hummingbird to start beating with joy to the rhythm of the hexameter. In the gently weaved nest, safely set between the thorny branches of our bougainvillea, the great odyssey of the smallest bird on earth began that day.

This story has something of Julian Tuwim in it, because when I saw Kuku for the first time, I just heard words in my head, beloved words from childhood poem:

"Thus he started chirping, peeping, Warbling, shrieking, chirp-a-cheeping"

Kuku chirp-a-cheeped at me in the kitchen window. Eliyahu was still asleep, while I was brewing my morning coffee and I could not believe my eyes. I've never seen a hummingbird in nature before. When it hung in the air and looked into my eyes, I remembered that once a dragonfly came to my apartment. The admiration of a mysterious winged newcomer - nomen omen - a symbol of immortality and rebirth - lasted only a short time though, because in a fraction of a second my cat caught it and ate it.

Immediately after the recollection of tragically killed dragonfly, another distressing thought came to my mind (a strongly exile and patriotic memory) of "The imprisoned swallow" by Stan Borys. So I decided that it would be safest to close the mosquito net in the window in order not to imprison the beautiful creature in our kitchen. But when I raised my hand, Kuku shook himself, nodded his head left and right several times, then, as if nothing had happened, he asked:

- Can I tell you a story? It will be as short as life. Fleeting like me. Beautiful like flowers in your garden. It will not be sad, it will be rather pensive and melancholic. Because if one's life is short, ephemeral and beautiful, there is some melancholy in it. This is going to be a love story. This will be a story about the journey. However, to understand this story, you have to look at the world through my eyes...

Basically, I think that animals familiar with human speech should be carefully listened to. Just like you should hug trees and feed cats. So I nodded rather boldly. At the same time the world became sweet, the heat hit my head, the air smelled of honey, sun and love.

That morning I became a hummingbird.

That's how I've learned to love.

Kuku, painting by Eliyahu Saban, acrylic paint & ink pen on wood

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