There is a plumb-black flower in my yard, about the size of my thumb but narrower and prettier. It’s on a stalk of Sundowner Mountain Flax and it is the white hot center of a month of hummingbird wars that take place every June. Juvenile male hummingbirds stake out their territory in the late spring, and for whatever reason, this particular plant is highly regarded among these thugs. If I sit on the chaise longue in the background for any amount of time in the morning or in the late afternoon I am treated to a free-for-all cage fight without the cages. Their calls are quick clicks, but if you’ve ever heard them slowed down, you’ll know they sound like trilling whales. They dive bomb each other, drink from the flax flowers, blast off and blast back, and sometimes they’re so wrapped up in the business at hand, they don’t realize they’re floating right next to me for a few seconds, until they do, and then they’re back in combat. These battles usually last a minute or two, but sometime they go on and on. There’s never a clear winner, at least to me, and while they’re obviously engaged in serious stuff, the dance of light and motion is a salve against my days.