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Virus Without Borders: Chapter Sixty-Two

 
A gathering of bees for sustenance, self-protection and survival. Their behavior is instinctual, humans' is not, nor is it as rational as we'd like to believe. We're out of our long winter hibernation, so let us learn from the bees and other creatures we have tamed. We are responsible for them and one another.

 

Interlude; Buds & Bees

    

 

In a dark time, the eye begins to see…

 

-Theodore Roethke

 

 

When the bees are swarming around the hives, we know that they have survived the winter and that spring is here, or nearly here, and that the queen bee has been protected by the worker bees, huddling together in the man-made hives to stay warm, using the nourishment of the well-preserved and preservative honey for fuel, though not much is needed when there are no blossoms to pollinate. My daughter was not certain if they were visiting bees, awake from wintering, searching out the remnant honey, or indigenous bees that they had nurtured last season. Bees can travel a ways, which can be a problem when one neighbor lays down pesticide and the other doesn't. But the sight of those bees, the soft thrum of their ricocheting flight, made us stop our walk through the homestead and marvel at the beauty of returning life and the miracle of survival itself. We thought of friends and family, near acquaintances and far, even colleagues, who did not make it through the winter. We thought of their loved ones.

 

It was a too-warm day. We let the dogs lead us onto a well-worn wooded path. Detritus of storms everywhere—a harsh winter exacerbating our lockdowns, ice not fully receded. Yet the fruit trees are budding and the frogs have returned to the pond after their winter hibernation—soon there will be an orgy, my daughter explained. Like the bees, they dig deep into the blanket of the earth and stay very still until the earth turns again. We reveled in the chorus of their joyful croaking, eager to disturb their song by piercing the cold pond water with our vaccinated bodies.

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