The lyrics behind "Hummingbird."
The story of "Hummingbird" - Sabriel
I always try to stay pretty ambiguous when it comes to my lyrics. I do it so more people can find connections to my songs. So when people hear Hummingbird, they think of a love story, which to be fair, was the original meaning for me. But as life changed, so did my personal connection to the song.
My boyfriend and I found ourselves housesitting for his aunt and sitting in her beautiful backyard full of life, plants and bird-feeders.
As a way of forcing myself to feel inspired (my inspiration comes and goes, sometimes leaving me with absolutely nothing to work with), I started to write down every single thing I saw in hopes that something would spark even the tiniest flame. I went through my notes and took a screenshot to show you the process (see photos).
Sometimes you can find a good song by seeing or hearing words that just are nice to say. But it just so happens that as I'm playing this word game, a hummingbird floats in front of my face and flashes their red chest like they were angry with me. I was convinced that this thing could easily fight me.
So here was this beautiful and tiny creature in front of me who was seriously hardheaded, and
all of a sudden I felt myself connecting to a damn bird.
I remembered when I felt just like that little thing. I had so much potential for happiness, but was pushing away love at every corner. Now, timing isn't always right. When you aren't healthy mentally, a relationship is the last thing you need. I was lost and needed to find myself before I could even see the beauty in my life. But when I learned to take care of myself, I there it was. "What are you doing to me?" It hit me like a brick and I was in love. I felt my hard outer shell melt off.
So there it was. I sang about that for a long time. But then my great grandmother started to lose her spunk.
I always thought Granny was going to live forever, even though she was well into her 90's. She was independent and didn't take any shit. She was my role model and I had so much love for her. I based my life around growing old like her. I mean, she lived alone and drove to WORK every single day. It was insane and so admirable.
I was in shock the day she passed away. She looked so much younger at her funeral, with all of the makeup, but it didn't look like the Granny I knew, so finding closure was almost impossible. In order to make something great to remember her by, my favorite collaborator, Megan, and I transformed Granny's entire house into an art piece. 90% of the photos you see me post were taken there. During this process, I'd find hints of Granny everywhere.
Mainly, I'd find myself being followed or watched by a hummingbird.
I knew that whenever I went to that house, I could look up at the same tree and find a hummingbird chirping at me. It was so bizarre that I actually tested it. I'd visit at different times of days and that bird was always there singing. Sometimes it felt so much like it was talking that I just stood there and listened as it brought me to tears.
When Megan and I finished our project, I came around less frequently. And when I did stop by, the bird was gone. Hence the additional lyric I sing when I play live "And I kept my eyes wide, but I didn't see that bird today. Tell me why it flew away."
I felt silly. Like I had been in denial and was looking for any sort of sign instead of just saying goodbye and moving on. I then mourned in a healthy way and found peace, but I still caught glimpses of a hummingbird in strange ways and always held onto the belief that it was her.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, March of 2018. My family finally got Granny's house cleaned up and ready to sell. I wanted to keep some of her wallpaper, so my parents went over to tear down some of it in her living room.
I get a text from my dad about something hidden behind the wallpaper.
I immediately drove down to see it. When I saw the wall, I found a gold leaf painting of two hummingbirds in a tree. One looking down at the other just as that hummingbird would look at me from the tree in Granny's yard. Their chests were painted red, not as a warning sign, but as a sign of happiness and comfort. These birds looked like they were home and at peace.
We tried to find meaning and logical reasoning for it. My dad had talked to one of Granny's daughters about the painting, but she never remembered it being there. This thing felt like it came out of nowhere. All I wanted was to tear down the walls and take them home with me, but I couldn't. Instead, I scribbled a message on a folded piece of paper and squeezed it into a hole in the wall, where nobody could find it.