The Journey Home

As the days grew shorter and cooler, it was time to fly to the winter home. Ruby flew the course she has flown her whole young life to the winter spot her family has flown to for generations. But when she arrived, she was utterly confused. This did not appear to be her winter home! Flying closer to investigate, Ruby saw that everything around her was being devoured by flames. Before Ruby could even react, smoke filled the air, and Ruby’s winter home burned down like many other trees in the forest. Ruby was devastated but backed away from the wildfire to avoid injury. The helpless hummingbird then flew to a nearby patch of bare land and just sat there, completely submerged in her thoughts. Ruby was crushed and wanted to do nothing else but cry. However, Ruby still had to worry about where she was going this winter, but suddenly, her thoughts were interrupted by an unfamiliar voice.

“Hello there, I don’t mean to bother, but you seem to be in great distress! If you wanted to tell me why I am certain I would be able to help!” said a colorful macaw.

“Thanks, but I don’t think you’ll be able to help. My home got burned down in the wildfire, and I have nowhere to go,” replied Ruby sadly.

“I’m sorry to hear that, but luckily, I can help you find your new home. I know a place that would be perfect for you. I’ll show you the place if you’d like!” offered the macaw.

“No thanks, I think I’ve got it on my own. Thank you though!” answered Ruby instinctively. Although Ruby trusted the macaw, she simply thought accepting help was embarrassing and unnatural for a solitary bird such as herself. In her entire life, Ruby never needed anyone to help her find her own home even when she was young, and she certainly didn’t need any help now.

“Alright, if you say so. I’m Charlie, by the way. I’ll be around this area if you ever need help!” said Charlie as he flew off.

Ruby also flew off shortly in search of a new home. But after flying for a while, she finally realized the impact of the wildfire as it had wiped out the entire forest. Even after heading in a different direction, the impact of the wildfire seemed to trail Ruby like a shadow. After searching for hours on end, Ruby realized that her only choice was to ask for help. Going back to Charlie, Ruby built up the courage to ask for help, which was something she had never done in her life. Charlie happily said yes, and Ruby followed Charlie to a perfect nesting place. At that moment, Ruby realized how stupid she was for not asking for help sooner when she needed it. Ruby thanked Charlie, and with a new winter home, Ruby could live comfortably for the rest of winter.

Written by Yunzhe Hong

Picture of Yunzhe Hong, whose story received Honorable Mention