At seven in the morning, South Fork, Colorado is Closed and a place to quickly drive through.
The Rainbow Grocery, down from the Rainbow Motel, opens at seven. The Rainbow gas station, next to the Rainbow Grocery, is open but their coffee is not worth a pause much less a full blown stop.
Across the highway, as fifth wheels and pickup trucks pound past me, the new Gallery Coffee Shop has lights on and movement inside and I carefully walk across the highway to get there.
Waiting for seven thirty, in front of the coffee shop’s locked front door, with last night’s raindrops still beaded on outside tables and chairs, I find a dry spot and watch a delicate hummingbird.
He sticks his proboscis into one of the plastic flowers of the hummingbird feeder.
When I raise my phone to capture his image, he jets away.
When the shop’s proprietor sees me outside, he unlocks early and I have coffee and a pecan fried pie made by the Amish in nearby Monte Vista and we talk about his life as an artist.
The western art on display took Frank thirty years to get to the point he can finish a small canvas in weeks instead of months and he tells me about his ” process of art ” and coming to South Fork from Texas in the summer months to paint and help his significant other run their small business because his wife especially likes it here and their 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. Frank says he has been drawing since he was ten years old.and his wife is at a business breakfast in Monte Vista and will take the reins of the shop back in a few hours so he can go finish a new watercolor.
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.