Bees are remarkable insects. Dedicating themselves completely to their colony, willing even to give their lives in defense of it, and without ever a thought of reward or appreciation, these little buzzing wonders embody such pure mother-energy as can be found in nature.
Last Sunday, amidst my own various matronly duties, I had a bit of a run-in with just such a creature. While folding laundry, I noticed a stumbling bumble bee on the windowsill just inches from my fingers.
After my initial reaction of jumping back from a bee, I looked at this beautiful creature with great pity. Somehow it had been trapped inside the house, probably from this window being opened, and could not escape. It was evident from this little bee’s blunderings on the windowsill that it was disoriented, exhausted, and had been imprisoned for some time. It was dying.
I resolved to save it. I opened the window, but my little bee was too weak to fly. My daughter happened to be playing outside, and I called to her. We worked as a team, she on the outside and me on the inside, to free this little bee. I somehow persuaded the bee to crawl onto a sock, and with some nimble maneuverings negotiated the sock onto the edge of the windowsill to pass to my daughter. Of course, it is a lot to ask of a child to handle a tiny sock with a bee crawling on it, and alas both the sock and its passenger fell to the ground. My daughter bent over, and peering down informed me that the bee did not leave the sock.
I left my pile of laundry and came outside to inspect. Yes, there was the bee, tottering on the sock, hardly moving save to attempt keeping its balance, and it was doing a poor job even of that.
My daughter was anxious; she did not want to get stung. Perhaps, she thought, we should just leave it alone. That would have been the easy thing to do; she could get back to her game, and I could to return to my mountains of laundry, and we could both avoid a potential insect sting. But my heart was breaking, and swelling, for this little bee. I shan’t stop now. Into the house I ran, up the steps and into the kitchen. Here I grabbed a wooden spoon, and upon it I drizzled a few drops of raw honey and a few drops of water, just for good measure.
I arrived to the back yard, where my brave girl kept a cautious yet close watch on our little friend. We carefully dripped our honey onto a dried brown leaf left from the winter. At first our bee did not respond at all. It seemed not to notice nor to care. Finally, we sort of wiped the leaf on its little bee face.
Oh, the excitement that ensued! This suddenly large tube (proboscis) emerged from somewhere hidden in its little head, and went to business like a living broom/vacuum attachment. It slurped every last drop of honey while the back segments of its body gyrated. My daughter dashed back upstairs for more honey, and returned with both the honey and her brother. Our bee fervently vacuumed the honey with its efficient and rather magical attachment, while we each volunteered our own delighted and bubbling commentary. Then…flight! It took a victory lap, buzz buzz buzz in a circle around us, and with great satisfaction we watched it zig zag away.
We did it. We saved a life. We were, all three of us in that moment, triumphant mothers, and felt such exhilaration as cannot be explained by the saving of an insect. This mother energy that we embodied also changed something once viewed as fearful and dangerous into something dear, loved, and curiously funny; for I have noticed in the days since our little intervention, neither of the children now run from bumble bees, but actually tag along behind them in the yard, giggling at their drunken antics among the wildflowers.
These little mothering bumble bees work for each other, protect each other, and that is all they see, all they know. Yet there is a much bigger reality of which they play a crucial role, and to this reality they are blind. For, these little buzzing bees are the Earth’s pollinators, and without them many a living creature, including humans, could not survive. Thus, in the wake of their buzzing wings and gyrating bodies, they birth new life into the fresh springtime gardens and orchards and wild forests of the world.
To this end, I would like to, on this Mother’s Day, honor and appreciate all of you magical mystical bumblebees in my life, tending to your individual spirit-gardens with such love and care. How the vibrancy of your flowers delights and encourages, how your sweet nectar nourishes and sustains.
To the healer who tended the growth of magical dandelions, honoring the last breaths of a dying tree,
To the exquisitely lovely Ms. Magoo, navigating her vessel through life and motherhood with such tender skill and care, that the salt water sprays my face and falls from my eyes by the depth of her words,
To the exquisite life-dancer bringing beauty, humor, and grace to every corner of the world she touches, to every corner of the humans she befriends, even to her own eager-to-please appliance Hilde,
To the mystical philosopher who, upon finding a tiny stranded fish on the ocean’s shore, stopped his strolling and his musings to wade chest high in the cold water to save it,
To the stand-up spiritual comedian, bringing laughter and enlightenment through blogs and Hafiz,
To the man who works more than he should to support his homeschooling wife and their three children; who returns from the stiff corporate board rooms to be tackled and hugged, who sits on the floor and sings silly songs and shakes baby rattles with his disabled 7 year old, who spreads the seeds of wildflowers and sunflowers and delights in the birds enjoying them,
To my own mother and father and sister, for all the crazy humor and freedom and support you bestow upon me,
Happy Mother’s Day. I am renewed, I am refreshed, I am enlivened, and my garden grows fruitful and lush, because of you.