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. 🙂
This week is Tulsa’s MayFest weekend. An old festival (as these things go), the original MayFest has spawned neighbouring (not competing) festivals, specifically, Blue Dome Art Festival. And while they’re separated by only a matter of blocks, the crowd, merchandise, and entire ‘flavour’ are completely different.
At MayFest you can drop thousands, if you have them, on beautiful jewelry, prints, leather, wood-working. Yesterday we saw a piece of hand-worked burl wood — a hanging — inlaid w/ copper that was about 6 grand. Mixed metal earrings by one of my long-time fave artists, Q Miller, start reasonable and climb. 🙂 But the pieces are by artists standing in front of you, who can tell you the story behind each piece and its name. The metals have the print of hammer, the wood the silk of sandpapering.
The same at the Blue Dome Festival, but these artists live in the area. And not all the quality is…well, as polished. 🙂 It’s far more like the early days of MayFest, when international artists didn’t come to Tulsa. We asked our own, and they chipped in. And it was wonderful. Still is. I saw handmade journals, and quartz pieces, and leather, and magic…
I love both parts — the craftsman/artist me loves the quality of work at MayFest, the individual visions shared out in wood and metal and ceramic and ink. The kid still impressed by toys and glitter loves the carnivale of the Blue Dome. Completely different, they’re both part of art and what it does for me.
And yep, there are at least a dozen metaphors here. I don’t think I have to spell them out…:) But just in case, here’s a clue: next year I want to have a haiku booth with a friend. Get your custom haiku — give us 3 words! We’ll use ’em! — for a BUCK!
And I want to have it at the Blue Dome. Where the great tattoos roam, and the shaved ice melts. And parents blow bubbles at their children, who wear painted animal faces…
My grand-nephew is a hoot. Named for my younger son, little Noah is funny, drop-dead cute, and tons of fun. A great companion for a Friday adventure. So today, when he arrived w/ his grandmother — my younger sister — in tow, I knew fun was walking in the door, too.
He made straight for the breakfast room. ‘I hungry,’ he announced. Out come cereal and a banana. ‘ I thirsty,’ he added, eye-balling his grandmother’s iced cappuccino. After learning how to make monster noises (who knew his education to date had lacked this essential wisdom??), he settled in to his usual questions:
‘Why you have cat?’ and ‘why doggie cry?’ and ‘where you food?’ Ad infinitum. After the cereal, we walked out to the garage to find his uncle, who was working on my car. Noah circled the car, waved to Glen, and started asking more questions. ‘Who car?’ ‘Why broken?’ More questions.
Questions were the MO of the morning, as we discussed toys, hats, sunglasses, dogs & cats, and the piece of trash next to him in the car. W/ a glittery pencil discarded by one of his sisters, and the empty Chex bag, he engineered…a creation. His blue eyes wide w/ wonder, he demanded that his grandmother and I ‘LOOK!’ So we did, watching as he twirled the bag on its stick holder.
Then he poked a second hole in the bag, running the pencil through either side. His twirling bag now looked more like a feedbag. So we made horse noises together.
When I’m with Noah I never have to ‘try’ to have fun. Fun just happens, as it seems to for him. A pencil and a piece of discarded trash transform, through his eyes, into something magical, twirling on its glitter pencil axis. A coffee scoop and old coins? Treasure measured out into a bowl.
This is grace, folks — the ability to live so completely in the moment that the clear beauty in every particle catches fire. Find a kid, if you can’t do it on your own. Then practice. It won’t hurt, I promise. I’d lend you Noah, but he’s out for the count. All that beauty wears a guy out ~
I just heard that an old and very dear friend died. It was last year, but I only heard today. Some of you probably knew Larry Megill — especially those of my local friends. He and my dear dear friend Carrie were Sunday school teachers at All Souls; they also delivered Meals on Wheels.
But that isn’t what I will remember best about Larry. I don’t know where to start, really: Larry & Carrie were such an integral part of my early adult life. I met them when I was 18, just after I met my future husband. Larry was Glen’s friend since childhood.
So when Larry & Carrie always a compound noun, always the two of them joined since that first meeting… returned from California, it was only natural they move in with us, into the big house Glen was renting in north Tulsa.
Carrie & I were best friends from the beginning. We got a job together — counting orange china spoons at World Bazaar. Really. We bonded over inventory. After work, we’d come home and the guys would have made something to eat. We’d watch late night TV (Gaylord Sartain, in his early Mazeppa days) and laugh. That’s a fraction of what I remember.
Playing bridge at the house L&C moved into. Larry winning the ‘how many grapes can you stuff in your mouth?’ contest. Larry helping me bait my hook in one of the many fishing trips we all took. Larry teasing Glen about his nerdiness (even then…: tell me again about why my face is upside down in my ice cream spoon, Glen). Larry playing guitar as we sat in the living room among the sculpture L&C made.
Larry cooking, Larry laughing. Carrie & I making something to eat in one of the many kitchens we shared over the years. Carrie and I falling off my motorcycle, spinning out in the gravel by the green house. Larry & Carrie holding the third redhead, tiny Miranda ~ So many memories…
The friends of our youth are irreplaceable. And the friends we retain from that youth are doubly precious: they share not only our youth, but move with us into the uncertain darkness of middle age. Larry & Carrie made that journey. What was important to all four of us when we were young remained so, and any meeting or email was another bright strand in the web.
It seems such a short time ago that Larry and I became friends on FB, an improvement over the letters neither family is good at writing. I hadn’t seen him on in a while, but didn’t worry about it. Time slips past like a jetstream… Who really knows when the past separates from the now? Just yesterday (really) my sister & I drove past the old house — it looks good.
Just like memories do. I will miss you, Larry ~