Weeds and Stings
You can’t possibly know the glory of the rose’s bloom while the climber lies in waiting.
The thatch and nettle push their way in front of my pink yarrow. Even the hollyhocks stand in the shadows of an unnamed weed that must have gone unnoticed for too long.
There is milkweed sprouting alongside the corn. The last few asparagus resemble pencil-style Christmas trees, and I can barely find the bush beans. Everything has gotten out of hand, but so much is beautiful.
I’m a first year beekeeper. Some days, I am feeling pretty pleased with myself, thinking that I am on my way. Then there are days like yesterday, when I really was trying my best to be slow and gentle, singing the best lines to the bees from songs that I know they must like as I used my already work-worn hive tool to open the boxes, looking for evidence of things that I do not yet understand. I had stopped singing long before I hobbled away in my useless pink bee suit with a body full of venom and a badly broken ego.
Inside those hives, though, was a treasure of golden honey. Just looking at those glistening jars makes the stings hurt a little less.
Aaron’s hair had been growing since the end of kindergarten. His lively, wild dreads were halfway down his back, and I so loved them. Last week, he decided to get a haircut. I took him to the barber and did my best to hold back the emotions that mourned the inevitable transformation of a small child to a middle-schooler. His baseball cap fits much better now.
Someone came to buy eggs a few days ago. She commented that our farm was beautiful. I considered making a remark about how many weeds there were or how messy the barn was. I held back and simply thanked her.
Sometimes the days are hard. Lately, there has been much to tell the bees. I have stretched my body over the growing stack of boxes, to feel the vibration from their souls to mine. I have sat quietly on the concrete bench at dusk, watching them finish their forage flights and return to the colony. Their response was unexpected, but still there must be meaning to uncover under the hurt, the confusion, and the sorrow.
I know, deep within, the good is still there. Years to pull weeds stretch before me. I don’t know what I am doing, but I am trying my best to figure it out along the way. The itching and swelling from so many bee stings won’t last very long. Aaron’s hair is going to grow again, but I suspect he will keep it short for a time anyway. Along with trepidation, change brings the unlocking.
I think I am going to ask the bees for forgiveness, for mercy, and, above all for clarity. Maybe it doesn’t make sense now, but it’s under there somewhere, and I know we’ll find it, and we’ll be okay. And the milkweed makes the corn look fancy.
“Too much for me to pick up…not sure what forgiveness is….” Bon Iver, 8 (circle)