The Breath of a Bee
Yesterday I slowed down. I took a rest and spent some time writing. Both resting and writing have been hard to do in the last month or so, for a variety of reasons that are human and mundane as well as life changing. We are now sharing our home with another family who has arrived and is unpacking and getting settled in. And I couldn’t be more pleased with this turn of events, even if the circumstances that got us to this place are filled with worry. This is where we are. I’m also happy the preparation stage is now over, and they are here, and we are together.
About a week ago, before they arrived, I had this moment when I realized I had been working hard for a long time and I really needed to stop moving and take a pause. I decided to go do one thing, that I wanted to do. So, rather than continue through my long list of chores, I went outside. I walked around my garden and I took a good long look at everything. This in and of itself has a calming effect and is one of the reasons I love having a garden. Then, I decided to sit at my planting table and spend some time with my new baby plants.
I have trays filled with tiny seedlings that will eventually go into my garden, after the harvest comes out and fills our dinner table. This is one way I try to maximize the growing potential in my small space, and, on this day, I wanted to transplant some of the seedlings into their separate homes. I pulled the plants apart and gently tucked their roots into the soil, giving them more space to grow and mature before they will go directly into the garden space. As I worked to spread out the plants, I realized, I was hearing the buzzing sound of a bee. I looked up and saw a tiny little creature had landed in one of my seed tray right in front of me, within my arm’s reach.
At first, I didn’t give it a second thought, thinking it would soon be on its way because bees don’t normally hang out on seed trays, right in front of me for any length of time. But then, as this little bee stayed, I stopped what I was doing and just looked at it. That’s when I realized how beautiful it was. In a kind of surprising way. When I think of bees, I don’t generally think of them as being beautiful. But, yet, in this moment, sitting at my planting table, this tiny little bee was beautiful. It had a honey colored translucent body that seemed to glow from the inside like it’s very spirit was shining through, lighting the world around it while it went on doing whatever it was it was doing. Its glow was warm and reassuring, like enjoying a cup of tea, wrapped in a blanket while listening to the rain. And the more I looked at this little bee, the more I noticed.
The wings of the bee were transparent and easily dismissed, which is ironic since they are the bee’s propellers and they make the very sound I associate with a bee. But the wings on this bee were insignificant compared to the rest of its body, which was really striking. The fuzz on the bee’s head reminded me of a lion’s mane, well-groomed and kept, like it had just been to the hairdresser for a trim. The bee had huge eyes that took up most of its head and it was using its antennas to feel around the seed tray. I could see its long tube of a mouth that it used to reach down into flowers to get nectar, lapping it up to take back to the hive. And, right in front of me it was reaching down into the soil and seeming to lick up the moisture and maybe other minerals in the dirt too. I found out later this is not at all unusual for bees to do.
But, the most extraordinary thing about the bee in front of me, lapping at my seed tray, was its breath. I could see the bee breathing. And that breath was alluring and magical and it turned the moment into something sacred and special and important. To breathe is to be alive and breath is a fundamental element of existence. It is what keeps the energy of the spirit rooted in the body every living thing inhabits. I was witnessing the bee’s breath which was both personal and intimate, and, oddly enough, it was an opening to myself too. This moment with the bee did something for me that I had not been able to do for myself that day or even for some time prior. It filled my heart with joy and connection and gratitude. This restored a sense of well-being and balance in me that I wasn’t able to find anywhere else.
And this is the curious thing. This magical encounter restored me like taking a nap in the middle of a long day. I got up from the planting table ready to tackle my chore list and go about doing the things I needed to get done. I found renewed hope in the encounter with the bee. I found myself smiling like I had just seen something enchanting and had a secret to share. And all of this came from choosing to do something just for me. This decision brought me to the planting table where I was honored to witness the very breath of this tiny little bee.