At seven in the morning, South Fork, Colorado is Closed.
The Rainbow Grocery, down from the Rainbow Motel, opens at seven this morning. The Rainbow gas station, next to the Rainbow Grocery, is open but their coffee is not good enough to make me want to pour a cup this early in the morning.
Across the highway, as fifth wheels and pickup trucks pound past, I spot the new Gallery Coffee Shop with lights on and movement inside.
Waiting till a seven thirty open, in front of the coffee shop’s locked front door, with last night’s raindrops still beaded on outside tables and chairs, I keep my dry spot on a bench and watch a delicate hummingbird cutting through the air like a seasoned helicopter pilot.
He sticks his proboscis into one of the plastic flowers of the hummingbird feeder just above my head and loads up with sugar.
When I raise my phone to capture his image, he darts away.
When the shop’s proprietor sees me, he unlocks his shop early and I step inside,order myself a hot coffee and pecan fried pie made by the Amish in nearby Monte Vista. We talk some about his ” artist ” life.
The western art displayed on the big open dining area walls took Frank thirty years to get to the point he can finish a small canvas in weeks instead of months. He tells me about his ” process of art ” as well as coming to South Fork from Texas in the summer months to paint and help his wife run their small business because his wife especially likes it here and there are tax advantages.
It takes skill and patience to make all these little lines in a cowboy’s face, make a horse’s mane look real on a flat surface. Frank says he has been drawing since he was ten years old and his wife right now is at a business breakfast in Monte Vista but will cheerfully take the reins of the shop in a few hours so he can go finish a new watercolor in his studio.
Hummingbirds, I Google, are cold blooded and, at night, perch on a tree branch, let their body temperature sink to conserve energy, and sometimes go into a torpor if it is really really cold.
In their state of torpor, the hummingbirds can dangle from a branch by one foot and appear dead.
We humans also know about torpor, but we don’t dangle from branches.