The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.
Saint Francis de Sales
Life belongs to the living, and he who lives must be prepared for changes.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
They’reeeeee baaaaacckkkk. . .
Those pesky seasonal hungry
wood rats, I mean carpenter bees, those true harbingers, I mean heralders of Spring.
I caught this one in mid bore, hanging upside down on a post out on the back deck.
They eat right into the wood of decks, porches, siding, eves. . .anything wooden that’s a part of a house. . .be it painted or not, stained or not. . .they eat, chew, drill, bore. . .
creating nesting sites.
They can sting but usually don’t as they prefer the art of intimidation. They will “buzz” toward anyone who enters their “space” or territory, usually hovering in place until you swat at them, only to quickly return to bother you some more. It is the males who tend to be a bit more aggressive then the females with regard to the whole dance of intimidation. You can recognize them by the yellow dot on their head—right between the eyes.
The only way I know that they sting is when my cat finds it fun and adventuresome to jump on the hovering pests, grabbing said bee up in his mouth while attempting to run inside with his “catch” in order to “gift” me with his latest accomplishment. Most of the time he won’t make it inside as the bee will have stung the inside of his mouth, forcing him to open and drop as he begins swatting frantically at his mouth. One would think that one experience, maybe two, with the bees would be incentive enough to leave them alone—sadly the idea of a prize seems greater than the pain. . .
All of this talk of bees and of this busy time of newness and growth naturally brings the whole concept of being ready, being prepared, being mindful front and center to my thought process.
Spring is a time of great transition.
Not only are things greening up, budding, blooming, buzzing, pollinating. . .
Spring becomes a time of doing. . .renovations, cleaning, planting, tiling, changing. . .
It’s time to discard the old and bring in the new. . .as in clean, fresh, bright. . .
Spring is also a time when there is literally change in the air, or more precisely, the winds.
Winter’s cold winds are pushed aside for the warming lilt of Spring. Jet streams lift and revert.
Yet it is this very pushing of winds, the time of warm meeting cold, which becomes most problematic.
Our incoming warmer days and nights can exact a heavy price producing tumultuous Springtime storms. Skies can grow angry quickly, as air masses fight for dominance. Thunderstorms with their wicked lightening strikes and spawned tornadoes make Spring one of the deadliest times of year as far as Mother Nature is concerned.
Living in the proverbial tornado alley swarth, which cuts through the mid and southern tier of our United States, dictates caution while keeping one eye directed to the sky at all times.
Joining with the rest of humanity as we transition from a wicked winter that overstayed its welcome to a feisty new tempestuous Spring, with giddy exuberance and joy, I do so not with reckless abandon but rather with a bit of cautious yet hopeful optimism.
As we journey now, a bit worse for the wear, toward the end of Lent. . .with Palm Sunday, Passover and Easter all knocking on the door—may we rejoice in this new birthing of Nature as well as the birth of renewal within our spiritual selves. May we marvel in the busyness of the bees, the jittery darting and dashing of the myriad of birds who are hurriedly toiling building their nests. May those of us who suffer grievously from seasonal allergies find relief, and may we all remain vigilant when the warming skies decide to turn ominous and dark . . .
Here’s to Spring,
Here’s to life,
Here’s to new,
Here’s to change. . .
For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord.”
“A work of arte; and yet no arte of man,
Can worke, this worke, these little creatures can”
– Geffrey Whitney, 1586
When I was in high school, many many years ago, I ran track both my 9th and 10th grade years. I was never really fast nor very good but there was just something about it that held me in place for those two pivotal teenage years. Maybe it was my glue during the turbulent life of adolescents. Maybe it was a good outlet for the often troublesome ooze of a teenage girl. A mishmash of emotions, hormones and a fertile battle ground of little girl, tomboy and young lady all colliding as one. In other words, a delightful distraction and master consumer of energy and time.
If you’ve ever seen me in person you know that I am a relatively short individual. What was once 5’4.5″ is now sadly 5’3″–ode to age and osteopenia, couple that with a medium build. No svelte, long legged gazelle here, maybe more like a hearty soccer player. But one look would pretty much tell you that I was not built to be a track star let alone a long jump queen. Yet it was indeed the long jump which held my oh so keen interest.
My short little legs, with the thighs of which I so fondly refer to as God having given me tree trunks instead of thighs, were not exactly rockets which could or would propel one up and over the length of a sand pit.
I, however, was not to be deterred.
One day, before practice our coach, who happened the be the coach of the boy’s team, as I was a pre Title IX athlete–(most everything we did was with the boy’s team—from lifting weights—this sending my mother into orbit as this too was pre knowledge that it was perfectly fine for girls, feminine girls,to lift weights without turning them into a bulky testosterone filled muscle mass or some East Russian weight lifter (no offense to East Russian weight lifters) —On this particular afternoon our coach offered both teams a little motivational encouragement.
He told us the story of the bumblebee.
Supposedly it is aerodynamically improbable (he used the word impossible) for a bumblebee to fly. It seems that because of the size and weight of their bodies, along with the size, the shape and the number of beats per wing makes the concept of flight, for the lowly bumblebee, not very practical. Simply put, they are too fat, too round, too heavy along with too small of a wing, of which do not flap fast enough to lift them, keeping their rotund frame aloft–let alone fly.
But fly they do.
I took this concept to heart. I also decided that I would workout each day with the boys–the two senior boys who long jumped and triple jumped. If they jumped the boxes, I jumped the boxes. If they skipped around the track doing high leg lifts, I did the same goofy leg lifts. I’d stand at the end of the runway, having marked, counted and numbered my steps, sprinting forward, looking upward, praying my foot planted perfectly at the tip of the white jump off board and soar, hopefully, upward and outward.
Now I never broke any records or racked up a room full of trophies but I did beat out the svelte gazelle who was our girl’s team top long jumper. I did come in 2nd place at Region. And I felt as if I had accomplished something that I really never should have accomplished. . .as I was not, am not, built to soar or fly.
The lesson here is not whether it is scientifically feasible that bumblebees can or cannot fly. Nor is this the place to discuss the difference between bumblebees and their obnoxious cousins the carpenter bees— better known as the wood bee—as in eat any and all exposed wood be it a deck, rocking chair or house eve. . . digressing. . .
This is, more accurately, a lesson in believing in the improbable, the unlikely, the impossible.
This is a story about reaching beyond the expected, about never settling for the predicted, and for believing that there is always a way to do what you never thought you could do or were told you couldn’t do–despite of or in spite of any and all obstacles or limitations.
Yes, there will be have to be work. . .lots of sweat, painful effort, long tiring hours, sacrifice of self–but in the end. . . medals, trophies and records aside. . .it will be you and you alone who will know the sweet satisfaction of accomplishment—because you shouldn’t or couldn’t, but in the end, you did. . .
We all can soar.