“A Route of Evanescence”

The hummingbirds have returned, but I’ve only been able to catch two fleeting glimpses of them at our feeders before they vanished into the woods, which is why Emily Dickinson’s poem about them rings so true.

I haven’t been able to get her description out of my head ever since I googled “Emily Dickinson” and “hummingbird.” Evanescence, Emerald, Cochineal (which I had to look up to find that it’s an insect from which carmine-colored dye is extracted) perfectly describe these brilliantly-colored birds that seem to evaporate as soon as you lay eyes on them. I would expect nothing less from our brilliant Emily.

Then it dawned on me how her words are also a spot-on description of one of my favorite inks—J. Herbin’s Emerald of Chivor. Emerald, cochineal, with an evanescent shimmer. So hard to capture in photos—both the tiny birds and the ink’s best characteristics. Look one moment and it’s there. Another moment and it’s gone. Fleeting. Dazzling. Always a surprise.

That’s what makes them both so special—the iridescent bird and the sheening/shimmering ink. That Route of Evanescence.

Thank you, Emily. Yet again.

Pen used in this post: Diplomat Aero, bold nib with an Architect grind by The Nibsmith.

4 thoughts on ““A Route of Evanescence”

  1. This day’s letter from you about hummingbirds and evanescence was wonderful. Emily Dickinson is truly special. I like her “Hope is a thing with feathers…
    Thanks for a thoughtful write.
    Bob

    • I love that one, too. I have it written on a sticky note and carry it in my pocket notebook. It helps during those tricky times. Thanks for your comment!

  2. You are something of a poet, too. I love your line about “these brilliantly-colored birds that seem to evaporate as soon as you lay eyes on them.” And your parallel between the ink and the bird could not be more apt. I love that you noticed that. I think it should be Hummingbird of Chivor.

    Ruth

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