Peace

When I was mowing last week, I happened to look down into the inside of one of our tulip blossoms and saw a honey bee lying on her side at the bottom.

She was clearly dead, but there was something peaceful and poignant in the way her little body curled around the base of the stamen. I wondered how she had happened to die there while in service to the queen and to her hive (and to all of us, I suppose, who eat honey). I like to imagine that she was an old bee who had already toiled for weeks, building honeycomb nurseries and foraging for pollen and nectar. Maybe she grew tired in the warm spring sun and lay down in the velvety petal softness to rest, her body dusted with golden pollen and her stomach full of nectar. But there, her old weary body gave out at last. A pretty sweet way for a honey bee to go. I couldn’t say exactly why, but the sight of that little honeybee moved me.

Yesterday, I was weeding in our back flowerbed when I grew tired and stopped for a moment. There was a faint cool breeze caressing my arms, but the afternoon sun warmed me down to my winter-weary bones. The heat of the sun was warming the lilac blossoms, too, and the breeze was blowing their sweet aroma my way. I breathed in deeply and closed my eyes. I could hear the sound of the Rufous-sided Towhee telling me to “Drink your TEA!” and our resident mockingbird singing frenetically through his impressive repertoire, sounding almost demented in his frenzy. He always makes me smile, especially when I hear him singing in the dark of night.

It was then I remembered the honeybee with her gold-dusted body curled so sweetly in the bottom of the tulip. As silly as it may sound, I sat there in the sun, my eyes closed, and imagined myself lying in the bottom of that soft, light-filled tulip blossom, drowsing in the warmth of the spring sun. I wasn’t filled with nectar as the honey bee must have been, but I felt a certain peace suffuse my spirit.

Last weekend, we were startled awake at 3:30 in the morning by the ringing of the phone. Like most people, I was filled with dread at the sound. Phone calls in the middle of the night are never good. It was Ariel. She had awakened in the night in her dorm room with the worst pain she’d ever had. “Should I go to the emergency room?” she said. Bless her—I know she was thinking of what it would cost us.

“Yes, yes…go!” I said. It’s awful being 250 miles away when your child is in pain. But Ariel’s good friend and roommate, Catherine, went with her and stayed with her the whole time. We fretted at home, worrying that it was appendicitis.  We couldn’t believe it was happening to us for the second time in four months.

But this time, according to the emergency room doctor (who Catherine said looked like Dr. McDreamy on Grey’s Anatomy), it was kidney stones. Nothing to do but wait for them to pass.

You can’t protect your children from pain—physical or otherwise. Obviously, that’s something you learn early on as a parent. But it’s always so hard to be reminded of it. And reminded of how little we can control in this old world. The world spins on and we stumble through it, mostly doing the best we can. So much hate out there, but so much love, too. So much cruelty, but so much kindness. So many people heedless of the harm they inflict on this lovely earth, but so many working to heal and save it. And dawn follows night and spring follows winter, and, always, mothers worry for their children.

But I wasn’t thinking of any of that as I dreamed yesterday in the golden sun. For once, I was not mired in the past or fretting about the future. I was thinking only of fragrant lilacs, cheery towhees, exuberant mockingbirds, velvet-soft petals, and the warm spring sun on my face and arms. And of weary old honeybees, dusted with gold, who find rest and peace at last in the shelter of a soft, spring flower.

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28 Responses to “Peace”

  1. clairz Says:

    Beth, I don’t even know you (in the traditional sense of face-to-face), but I love you. Thank you for everything that you share with us, always in such beautiful words.

  2. anita Says:

    That’s lovely, Beth—thank you for sharing your words and pictures. (And I hope Ariel will be feeling better soon.)

  3. Sweet Virginia Breeze Says:

    What a wonderful post! Your description of the honeybee is so beautiful and touching, it almost brought tears to my eyes.

  4. Elora Says:

    What an utterly lovely, breathtakingly beautiful post. I so look forward to your posts. This one was truly special, among your always-special ones.
    Elora
    Just Off The One-Lane Road

  5. CountryDew Says:

    This is extraordinarily beautiful, Beth. Such a delicate sharing of self, life and love. You must truly be a gem hidden amongst the North Carolina hills.

  6. Sharon Says:

    This is one I am going to save with my personal papers, including the wonderful, reverent photograph of Ms. Honeybee. Thank you, sweet Beth.

  7. Sweetflutterbys3 Says:

    As usual, your words touch me in ways that I can’t even describe. How beautiful your post was. I think the story of the honeybee will stick with me for a long time.

    I’ll say a prayer for Ariel for fast healing. I could not imagine your fear with that phone call. I get scared for my kids just letting them go to school each day. What a wonderful Mom you are.

  8. indiasroses Says:

    Look at that Bee! How incredible to be able to capture is so covered in pollen! What a lovely photo!

    http://indiasroses.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/honey-bee/

  9. Martha Says:

    Beth, this post was so beautiful. Whenever I see that you’ve written something new, I always save it for when I can sit down and truly enjoy it. You have a very gentle soul and that is why you are touched by the beautiful, simple things in life. And that is why you are able to find happiness and goodness around you no matter what is going on in your life. It is the best way to be in life.

    Thank you for such a lovely post, and beautiful photos. If we lived closer to each other, I think you and I would be good friends :)

    A speedy recovery for Ariel! I’m glad to see that it’s nothing reall serious. But those stones are painful, so I hope she gets better quickly.

  10. Benjamin Says:

    Mommy–

    That’s how I feel when I look at the stars/planets/interstellar matter. I can even tolerate other people better and love them more. Just the sense of something (someone) whose changes are so slow we can’t perceive them–but so perfectly arranged so that the same stars come around from year to year. Thank you for this moment of peace.

    Love, Benjamin

  11. june Says:

    What a beautiful post Beth! And the photo of the bee so poignant!

  12. eemilla Says:

    This post was so gorgeous (along with the golden bee photo); it was my sun filled moment for the day. Thank you, and best wishes to Ariel!

  13. Ariel Says:

    After reading this post, I want nothing more than to do the same, to curl up in a tulip and go to sleep in the warm spring sun. I adore those photos, especially that last one. That brings joy to my heart.

    Thanks for the wishes for recovery, y’all. I’m already doing a whole lot better. :)

  14. Jayne Says:

    So beautifully written Beth. I felt it all right there along with you. Glad Ariel is feeling better. I wish everyone could find the peace of being in the moment and knowing all will be well.

  15. C.Josephina Says:

    Everyone’s already said it, but I too thank you for sharing this.
    I often say that before my son was born, I cried over things that made me sad. But since he was placed in my arms 4 years ago, sad things mobilize me to action and it is now the beautiful things which I feel more intensely and bring on the tears. And I’m sobbing.

  16. carolyn Says:

    WOW. This is a beautiful piece. I don’t have the writing ability that you do and so can’t really describe how this writing made me feel. But I’ll say that it made me stop and think. And to be reminded that I would see a lot more if I stopped and looked. Really looked. Thank you for reminding me to do that.
    Carolyn

  17. Jeff Says:

    Such a poignant post … when are you going to take that writing class?? And join a local writers group??

  18. dee Says:

    your post was simply beautiful. thank you for sharing.

  19. Judy Says:

    Hi Beth, I hope that Ariel is over her bout with kidney stones. My son has dealt with them for several years and I know how painful they are for him. As usual your photos are breathtaking and make me feel as if I am right there with you feeling the sun on my body and enjoying the warmth of the day. Your Benjamin sounds like you when he writes. I am sure he has inherited your talent and your eye for seeing the beauty in life. Have a wonderful week.

  20. Betsyfromtennessee Says:

    Hi There Beth, I’m trying to catch up today… Will take me forever!!!! ha….

    Love your posts–as I always do. I NEED that peace this morning which I felt while seeing those waterfalls!!!!

    Hope Ariel is okay… Kidney stones can be so painful… Keep us posted.

    Hope you have a wonderful week.
    Hugs,
    Betsy

  21. colleen Says:

    I agree! Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all die inside flowers, drunk with nectar! I think the shot is such a contradiction, like saying “beautiful suicide.”

  22. Debi Kelly Van Cleave Says:

    Your words touch me.

    I’m glad Ariel is getting better.

  23. clairz Says:

    Beth, I realize that I’ve already commented on this post, but I wanted to let you know that I’ve been having problems with a spammer/stalker (don’t even know what to call such a mean person) over on my blog and have had to make it private and accessible only to those I’ve invited. The problem with that is that I don’t have email addresses for many of my blogger friends (like you) that visit my blog.

    So, be patient with me. When I get up my courage to deal once again with these meanies, I’ll go public again–maybe in a week or two.

  24. Vakatje Says:

    This is the first post of yours that I have read and it’s lovely. Thanks for sharing your insight and photos.

  25. Mrs. Bloom Says:

    I stumbled upon this entry while researching flowers for my garden; I read the passage about your discovery of a little honeybee curled around the base of a tulip’s stamen, and fell in love with your appreciation of nature, in all it’s varied manifestations. Thank you for sharing; I was truly moved.
    Blessings!

  26. Ruth Tasgal Says:

    Thank you soo much for all the truth and beauty you express–you are an inspiration to me and I would love to come and visit you some day. I’ll pack a picnic lunch and we’ll sit on your porch to eat. Maybe you should start a bed and breakfast at the “Doublewide Ranch”. I traveled through Asheville this past weekend on my way to a family reunion in Louisville, KY and my thoughts went to you as we drove through the mountains around Asheville. Kindred friends are a rarity. Blessings in your job search!!!

  27. A Blog Post, Post-Blog « Blue Ridge Blue Collar Girl Says:

    [...] clear the fog of sleep from your mind and because you so dread the possibilities. You may remember the post I wrote in April about the middle-of-the-night call from Ariel. Well, it happened again. This time, it was [...]

  28. These Things Make Me Happy #3: Grace, With Wings « Mr. Schwump Has His Say Says:

    [...] that bee balm blossom to open so that birds and bees and butterflies could find sustenance and sometimes even rest [...]

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