Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Beehive

Some parts of my yard are slow to wake up from the long winter, but the Daffodils are already fading. Today I picked the last few that lookedfresh, and added some Tulips, still tightly closed under the overcast sky. I cut two branches of pink blossoms, one from the Redbud and the other from the Weigela. Both are blooming generously,offering pink seashell shapes. The Redbuds are like tiny snails, and the Weigela like clusters of clams. I admired, but did not cut, the blossoms onthe peach trees—themost ever those trees have produced. We should have at least a pie or two from the three little trees that came up in the compost pile after we processed the harvest several years ago. Each flower opens exuberantly to offer a spray of stamens, like tiny antennae sending secret messages to the bees. I hope the bees will comebringing messages of their own.

This time of spring brings such a mix of seasons. Warm weather mixes with cold; lush green mixes with dead stalks of last year’s growth. In my little path thedried brown flowers of Sedum still stand, while
new green leaves emerge from the base of the bouquet to remind us that each new part of the cycle emerges from the last one.

This morning I am remembering a visit to a cemetery in the Yucat√°n. On the drive home from the Mayan Ruins we saw the green stucco wall with the high gate, and our friend, Heidi asked if we’d like to stop. The cemetery itself was full of bright color. Instead of headstones, we saw structures like little stucco houses, two and three stories tall.
Some of the fancier ones were tiled and closed up with padlocked windows, but most were open alcoves housing offerings of flowers, candles, little statues, photos, and notes for the departed loved ones. These were in the top story of each tiny apartment. Heidi began to tell us about the Yucatec funeral customs. She said that the body must be buried within three days, and is generally not embalmed. Instead the deceased is put into a box for three years, and then the bones are cleaned. Eventually the bones are put in a container in the lower story of these little cemetery houses. Heidi says that the family bones are all together. I’m intrigued by this process, which seems to recognize the cycles of life and death and life.

I want a beehive for my tombstone
No formaldehyde for me
Just sprinkle seeds of clover
I’ll be breakfast for the Bee.

Today I walk around the yard and see the deep green leaves of the Ghost Lilies. Thriving now, they are gathering sunshine to feed the bulbs we can’t see deep in the earth. Soon they will wither and fade and fall, and even disappear, but
just when we’ve forgotten, those bulbs will send a secret shoot up from the musky soil to grow toward the sun and burst forth with a spray of pink, shell-like trumpets.

For I’ve lived my life in cycles
And this is just one more
I’ll be waiting for the morning to arrive.

And the Bee will take me ‘round the bend
And then she will return
Collecting her Nectar for the Hive.

In the spring I can’t believe in Death, not a real, permanent Death, anyway, because everywhere in the spring life is springing up from decay.
My mulch pile rots to nurture the hostas I planted last year at the base of trees, while the bones of Dylan’s cat, Knowles, will provide minerals for the roots of the plants in my spiral rock garden.

Now only cry a little
And only for the Beauty
For the Clover will make seeds of us all.

And the Bee will keep the cycle
And the Sun will rise again
And someone may remember my Song.

Let’s sing of cycles and sunshine and seeds.
The maples are already pushing out tiny leaves and delicate helicopters of the lightest green. In a month, maybe more, these, too, will turn brown, let go, and spiral down to bury themselves in the sweet earth.

And the Bee will take me ‘round the bend
And then she will return
Sipping Sweet Honey from the Hive.

Gather Beauty; Sip Peace; Blessed Be.

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