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Little Bushido
February 2009 | by Ed Mirsky, Hoska


From Buddhism, Little Bushido learned not to fear death for his eternal spirit will live forever in the never-ending cycle of life. He is a warrior. From Zen, Little Bushido learned self-reliance and self-discipline. He is always relaxed, he does not anticipate, he only responds to whatever the moment brings his way: “No mind” is his sword. He knows himself as he knows nature. He is always calm and has no fear. From Shintoism, Little Bushido learned to be loyal to his land, for he believes that the land holds the spirit of his forefathers. From Confucianism, Little Bushido learned a moral code, which governs his interactions with others and with nature for he believes that everyone and everything is bound in spirit and ethics.

Little Bushido lives the stoic life of the ascetic; watching over his flowers he guards the resource which has given him sustenance. And when the mighty raven appears, a foe 570 times his weight, the little warrior is driven on by the warrior spirit genetically ingrained within him. His attack is true and after the attack he remains constantly alert for the counterattack: zanshin is part of the warrior spirit.
Little Bushido is resting meditatively on a wire outside my bedroom window. His red head and mostly red body are clearly visible. But it is his green back that is his most distinguishable characteristic, marking him as an Allen’s Hummingbird and separating him from his close cousin the Rufous Hummingbird. Allen’s Hummingbirds are increasing in numbers in southern California and have become year-round residents in San Diego gardens. Not many years ago nearly all Allen’s Hummingbirds would pass through San Diego on their northbound and southbound journeys from western Mexico to their breeding range from coastal Santa Barbara County to southwestern Oregon. But now many of them live here year round enjoying Del Mar with the rest of us.

Little Bushido has earned himself a place in my garden. My garden was part of the territory of an Allen’s Hummingbird, which is a red-headed and saber-billed hummingbird. In a series of fierce and boisterous battles, Little Bushido chased away the larger Anna’s Hummingbird away, and now controls the Cuphea and bottlebrush from which he gets nectar and small insects. In the spring, he will attract females using a complex aerial display, which starts with a series of back-and-forth nearly horizontal shuttles from which he will ascend slowly, and then drop in a J-shaped power dive.

Little Bushido follows the “Way of the Warrior.



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