I started watching bees around 11:30 today and they were very active. I moved closer after about an hour and saw them above me, making two clear circles overhead then taking off. As they came in, three or four of them stopped to check me out, one landed on my shin. I watched another hour or more, off and on. At about two, some drones began to emerge. Every few minutes one would stop at the door and wash its face, then fly off. At four, they were very sedate.
At five o’clock, deep gray roiling clouds to the south crept over us, deepening toward a storm. Only half a dozen bees at a time in front of the hive now, and 99% of them coming in to roost. Tomorrow morning I move back the false back. Do it while they’re cool in the morning, so they don’t get annoyed.
By 5:10 they are all back in the hive, by 5:15 the rain has begun and thunder cracks. It looks as though we caught just the edge of the storm as the rainwall moves east toward the mountains. Sometimes what you end up doing is what you had planned, you just didn’t know it yet.
I pull the weeds from soaked ground around the rhubarb, curly mound. Weeds are not too bad right now, I worked hard last year. A few cheat grass, one or two fucking clover deeply soaked, dandelions stay, cheatgrass and salsify go, thyme and feral garlic grow. Fernbush babies stay, rabbitbrush and wild rose go. Pulling weeds, the rich meaning of my life.
Every summer I come back alive. I need to manage my time more wisely to avoid that despair that comes in late winter, that this year preceded, surrounded, my father’s birthday. It was sheer grief again. Year after year, sheer grief oppresses me in spring. But now that I am resigned to the fact of seasons turning, change, loss, death, and endings, I can celebrate the sunset as fully as I do the dawn. I have always loved sunset, moonrise, and the moments between from fleeting to eternal.
Now with bees, I celebrate more deeply evening twilight. The bees have gone to bed. I can peek at them. Learn the structure of their hive, follow their timing through the seasons. This is a relationship I have long known was coming, and now it’s here I am relieved. A level of stress is gone. Guidelines for my daily living have arrived with the bees, more so even than with the tortoise. Bees can sting me, make honey, move faster.
Inspired by bees, bees have given fresh breath to my living. Bees made me watch where I exhale, bees need me to be calm.