FOR THE BROKEN-WINGED BEE IN SEARCH OF ITS HIVE
By Andrew Hidas
Such nobility in its helplessness,
Not desperate, merely determined,
Heeding no other impulse,
Following no other program
But the relentless quest
To rejoin its mates and
Once again serve its queen.
Crossing vast swaths of concrete,
Like a nomad in the Sahara
Shorn of water and shade,
Exposed and alone in the world.
Surely, such an epic endeavor
Deserves no less than a film score
With mournful violins and a cello
Accompanying each tortuous step.
Instead, an audience of two,
The only music our murmurings
Of admiration and lamentation
For this most primitive of struggles
Against the encroaching doom.
We see ourselves, of course,
In the bee’s long journey,
Seeking home and the solace of our tribe,
The temple of our familiars*
Who wait with words of balm.
Approaching the dark exit road,
Facing our own Sahara of non-being,
Will we take that balm with us, content,
Or beat our wings furiously,
Raging at the dying of the light?**
“In my end is my beginning.”***
No bee ever wrote that or
Any other line of a poem,
Poems being a peculiarity
Of memory and reflection,
Hope and fear,
Yearning and blessing,
Absolution and adulation,
All things human and tender
And noble, too, in this
Garden of Eternal Return.
* With apologies & homage to Alice Walker
** And to Dylan Thomas
*** And to T.S. Eliot
I’m regretting now that I cut the video short on this epic journey…
And finally, this…
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Bee photo and video by Andrew Hidas https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewhidas/
Good morning, Andrew. The musician in me thanks you for some Richard Thompson, my favorite musician. The biologist in me thanks you for not calling this bee “he.” And the doubtful, questing, hopeful rest of me thanks you for this touching meditation this morning.
It was and always is a pleasure, Julie, all the more so when it strikes a chord with someone else, so I thank you.
And speaking of chords—oh yes, Richard Thompson! Glad we share that high regard, along with so much else.
So much beauty from you on my iPhone this morning. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Andrew. And on behalf of the bee, I thank you for being such a worthy witness.
And thanks back to you, Al. I’ve reflected a few times before in this space that probably my favorite Bible passage is the one about not even a sparrow falling without God’s noting it. It serves as a guidepost, I think, for revering the creation and all of its creatures (especially one as hard-working and miraculous as what it takes to make and sustain the life of a worker bee for the few weeks allotted to it). I appreciate you coming along as we ushered this noble being on to its destiny.
Thanks, Andrew, your poem hit a note with me. Lovely about bees and about us humans. One cool morning I was in the garden, and brushed past a jumble of tomato plants and my ever-encroaching lemon balm. A bumblebee, red and tan, fell down to the path with a broken wing. I don’t know if my brushing the plants caused the broken wing or if it was sheltering already, unable to fly back to a warmer burrow. My heart broke a little. The garden has had few of that bumblebee, that beautiful coloring, but there were more this summer, and I had such pleasure seeing them on the larkspur and catmint and hyssop and yes, the lemon balm. So I watched this bumblebee where it had landed, hoping it could fly but it could not. I placed it back among the plants, thinking for it’s time left, it deserved better than the path. Who knows? We stumble along and do our best.
Chris, that was my exact feeling in watching this helpless but still struggling bee labor so mightily to get across large swaths of concrete as behemoth human beings strode by within inches, potentially crushing it at any moment without even a clue. I knew I couldn’t do anything to save it, but I desperately wanted to offer it some measure of dignity in its dying by skooching it into some foliage. Not that I’m under any delusion that bees have the foggiest idea of “dignity”—or any ideas at all, really. But it mattered to me, because those ideas occur to me and many other humans (including you!), so that’s that!
And I could easily see “He stumbled along and did his best” on my tombstone as a more-than-adequate summation of the years given me, so thanks for that, too!