More likely it’s from reading the French entomologist Jean-Henri Fabre as a child. And following bees around. Like I did ants, and snails, and spiders. I don’t ever remember being really afraid of ‘bugs.’ Fabre’s work on bees (he did at least a couple of books) was anthologised in a children’s book of science & nature writing I had. And since I lived by a French library, I was able to go check out the other books, labouring through the Latin names to learn more about bees.
This spring I enrolled in a beekeeping course. About half-way through I dropped out; a possible upcoming move reminded me that bees are a long-term commitment, and difficult to transport hundreds of miles. At least for amateurs. So my lovely copper-roofed Brushy Mountain hive will have to wait until our family plans are firmer.
But sometimes when you want something for a long time, and you work towards it, other paths open. Two years ago, my sister gave me a small mason bee house. Last year I was ecstatic it had THREE bees in it. Over the winter, I forgot all about it. Until yesterday…
Cutting roses before the rain, I saw it: filled! Full of mason bees! The holes you see filled in have mason bees inside. Cool, huh? Bees!
So here’s the deal: I might have missed these, focused as I was on the absence of my copper garden hive roof. I could have continued grieving for the bees I don’t have, and totally missed my mason bees. How dumb would that be?
But we do it all the time: obsess on one thing to the point we become blind to what’s around us. Not to belabour the point, but it’s an American trait. ‘Work towards the goal!‘ It’s just that goals can be flexible. And we need to be able to identify the larger goal within the specifics. Bees, in other words. Not a beautiful copper hive.