Something has been off with me ever since I got home from Ireland. Maybe it was just the winter blahs, but as February turned into March and an early spring arrived, the sun didn’t seem to fix it. I spent as much time as I could outside, pushing Vitamin D into my skin and taking deep breaths of pollen-filled air. But there was no getting around it, something was wrong and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
Then last week, I picked up my 3lb package of Italian bees from my local beekeeper’s supply store. Right away I could see this was a stronger bunch than last years – there were few dead bees in the bottom of the cage and they were clumped tightly together, holding each other’s little bee hands and feet. We all hummed together happily on the car ride home. As twilight settled in, I donned my gear and tipped them into their new home. They buzzed me with curiosity, not aggression. I felt the ‘new bee jitters’ completely dissolve and in its place a deep peace settled. This was right. This is home.
I stood completely still in the cloud of bees collecting themselves, trying to catch the scent of their new queen hanging in the cage hanging in the hive. As thousands of pairs of gossamer wings beat the air, I could smell the little sisters in that way that hungry way a mother smells her new baby. I felt settled in my skin again. Happy. Maybe it was a feeling we shared as they united with the Mother who would become their life. I realized was fully present for the first time since I left the country that had carved itself into my soul. The grief I’d been enshrouded in seemed as if it were lifting. Here, with the bees, I was part of something larger, something more profound than life in my rough south Everett would otherwise be.
This week as I worked in the garden, I could hear the hum of them like the background noise of the wind in the trees. The sounds of their industry filled a void in the world of my garden that I had barely been aware was there. As I moved through these past unusually warm spring days, their presence around me had the rightness of the first rain after a long summer’s drought.
I feel drenched in relief.