The other night, while watching a great documentary about dirt, I heard for the first time the amazing story of the humming bird, and how she never lost sight of hope. Have you heard it? It's a simple tale, but quite inspirational, and it goes something like this:
One day, not so long ago from now, in a place not so different from here, a terrible fire broke out in a forest. All at once, the trees were engulfed in flames, and the woodlands which had been home to so many creatures were suddenly at the mercy of this raging blaze.
Terrified, all of the animals fled their homes as fast as they could. They ran out from the forest, and far away to safety. Once they were far enough, they turned to watch the forest ablaze.
Hopeless, they began to cry and bemoan the destruction of their homes. They felt powerless to stop this monstrous fire which was ravaging the forest that they loved so much. They were sure that there was nothing they could do, no force they could display which would be strong enough to put the mighty fire out.
Every one of them thought there was nothing they could do about the fire, except for one little hummingbird.
This particular hummingbird decided she would do something. She flew up above the heads of the towering beasts around her, and found a stream nearby. She flew over to the stream, swooped down and scooped up a few drops of water in her tiny little beak. She held the water there and flew as fast as she could back to her forest, where she let the water fall onto the fire.
Then she went back to the stream to pick up a few more drops of water, and she flew back to the forest again. And she did it again, and again, and again, each time carrying just the tiniest bit of water to the flames.
All the other animals watched in disbelief. If the giant elephants and the soaring eagles could not stop the flames from destroying their home, surely this pipsqueak hummingbird would not succeed.
They doubted her strength. They thought eventually she would tire, or be burnt by the flames, or just give up hope as they already had. "Don't bother," they said, "the flames are too big and you are too little. You will not be able to stop that fire."
But still, the diligent hummingbird persisted. She noticed how hopeless all her friends looked, how resigned and afraid they were to loose their homes, and how sad. She wondered why they did not join her. But she did not stop bringing drop by little drop from the stream to the forest, in a seemingly endless effort.
As the fire blazed ferociously upon their beloved forest, one of the animals called up to her: "Hummingbird, why do you waste your time? That fire is too powerful for you. What do you think you are doing?"
And the hummingbird, without turning back or losing a beat of her wing, called back: "I am doing what I can."
Let's all be like the hummingbird, shall we? And do what we can, however small, to save our home.