Monthly Archives: March 2014

ode to bees


web page 279And so spring begins…at least, here, where I live. I cut grass the other day – I felt bad about the dandelions. I only cut a few, those nearest the house, dandelions and clover. I left 5 acres of them and other wildflowers for the bees and the baby dragon flies and the lady bugs and all that is needed to make this space complete. I am anxious for the beekeeper to come during the night and leave 100 hives near the canal at the end of the woods. I feel satisfied that I have been a good steward and have left enough wildflowers for them. They hold me captive, these spirited workers who do so much for us – little creatures we have mostly taken for granted and many times killed are so rudimentary and essential. Anyway, I cannot wait for their return stay.


DSC_0641It is in the very early morning when the dew defines the eccentrics of the cobwebs, before they are disturbed, before the day has moved in and taken them when I most enjoy the bees. There are hundreds of them streaming through the woods and hovering over the field doing what bees do and have done for ever. I see them through the rays of morning light, so essential, busy doing their jobs. Their journey is arduous – going through woods and baring themselves over open fields amongst predators and problems, but most survive and find their way home at the end of the day, safe and snuggled in their hives once again with little bodies full of honey and wax, a hard day’s work behind them.


001This flight home each evening right before sunset when the hens roost and the tree frogs call is beautiful and symphonic. Again, the rays of the sun are part of this splendor, this time picking up specks of the day and becoming a mixture with the little bees tired from a day of gathering. It is so soothing and peaceful to watch. I am enchanted with their predictable pattern of flight and the way they do it with unchanging motions, every day no matter what. I suppose I envy them in a very odd sort of way, they go through their day, each day, knowing they have a very important job to do and it is done and at the end of the day, they are home, tired, happy and fulfilled.

Anyway, this is my simple explanation of my fascination with bees. I am anxiously awaiting their return sometimes in April and I will mourn their departure sometimes in July, but they will leave behind quarts of honey and fields of flowers.


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apron strings

apronI was thinking about aprons; I wear one most days. Not for cooking and baking like you may think but for painting – for art. I passed by a mirror just now and saw myself in it and I quickly remembered the aprons from my childhood, icons of the 50s housewife. Pockets were filled with small household items picked up along the ways of her day and sorted through before the end of it when it hung on a hook near the kitchen waiting for duty in the morning. – ready to, once again, shield the splatters of her day.

My grandmother, my dad’s mom, had beautiful ones that she made with scrap pieces of fabric and Ric Rac, lace and miscellaneous buttons – they were always there protecting her homemade dress from chicken frying and whirls of all-purpose flour. My mamae, my mom’s mother, wore aprons too. I don’t think she made them but they took her through her days in the kitchen just the same, baking sweet tarts and housekeeping.

My own mother wore an apron on Thanksgiving and Christmas – protecting holiday clothes from cheese sauces and turkey basting. I have a vision of her in her apron, a vision that says “mother”. Sometimes there were clothespins,  maybe a bobby pin or two or something you just might need in the pockets of mom’s apron.

I wear one now for painting and occasionally for cooking. When I do,  I love that it becomes a little toolbox for me – stashing things I need or things I find in the pockets, wiping wet hands with its skirt and just feeling homey in it. I always wonder why I don’t include it in my day more often. But, like so many household icons – the apron is going away with diaper pins and Singer sewing machines.

Elizabeth wears an apron when she bakes – I love that she does and perhaps there will be an apron resurgence.

 I mean aren’t little kids still tied to their mother’s apron strings and don’t big kids still need to cut them?

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in memory of…


photo 2The weather did not allow much time for the garden this past week. It seems the enthusiastic implementation of my last post was abruptly halted by the unwelcome return of Old Man Winter. I was disappointed, but soon realized there was much muddle to unravel and unload inside. My unlikely target was the bathroom closet – three shelves and 30 years of pile up. I managed to fill a tall kitchen garbage bag full of expired “drugs”, Band-Aids that didn’t stick anymore, and miscellaneous items that had no names. I could not let go of baby thermometers, a pink bottle of baby lotion for Elizabeth, and a little bottle with an instruction label concerning “teething” for Matthew – just not ready to toss.


But what I did find, and is the reason I am posting, are four items that got most of us through the ailments of childhood. The only things missing are the Pepto Bismol – that was kept in the refrigerator and the Creomulsion, it was all gone. Just thought you’d connect to this pharmacy from the dark ages. I thought about these little “go to” items, little cans of soothing serum, that I used again and again throughout the childhood of five children and I wondered when was the last spray or drop used – whose burn or cut was it that brought me here to this magical closet that healed the hurt and put the Band-Aids on  to hide the graphics and then gave the kiss that made it all better – when did each of these have their final call to duty? I know it’s a small thing, this homage to these ancient and obsolete containers but that’s what it’s all about for me – the little things and these four things were the little heroes of our day for many years. I cannot say goodbye without a mention of  “mother’s little helpers” and immortalizing their final show.


p.s. I know they look pretty shabby and slightly disgusting from the drips and spills of their content but it was a MASH unit in there and they were the stars! LOL

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a trip to Tuscany

vincivinci3A phone call from Elizabeth and my mind is reeling and my senses are pulsating – she so vividly described a place  in  Tuscany   she visited yesterday, Vinci Italy,  where Leonardo da Vinci lived- a place and a way of life so many try to copy but can never. She drove there in a Fiat, of course, with her friend from NY and a new friend, a Roman man she met at the market a few weeks ago. He is a former art history teacher that now sells vintage clothes in the market in Florence – I am not kidding, these beautiful people really do exist. The smells and the sounds that she told me of is a place that is only in my head. She said it too, it is a place that she only imagined and never thought was there. But it is.

After talking to her for nearly an hour and “seeing” the Tuscan countryside through her vibrant metaphors, I made coffee and while it perked I went outside and turned over the still cold earth. It was something, however small, I could do to extend the conversation and the mental and spiritual connection I made to Tuscany. In disparity, however, I found myself working in this ridiculous invention called a flower bed – why have I done this – this is not how flowers grow, they are not meant to grow in beds with toxic nuggets and Miracle Gro, they grow free in fields and plots of land where honey bees pollinate them and rich soil is amended with leaves and time and they grow where you want them to be not in some lined up pattern that has “curb appeal”. They grow under the Tuscan Sun.


That is what I saw in her words – Nature unleashed but so beautiful and real. She told me of little farm houses and each had small quirky gardens where the people who live there kept their food and the sky was cerulean and the air was sweet – untouched somehow. There were butterflies and bees and good food and drink and people who remained true.

100_4052I left the ridiculousness of the flower beds and walked in the field behind my house to smell the blossoms on the plum trees. I stooped down to smell the strong fragrance of the narcissi bulbs that are blooming and scattered in my yard – quaint reminders of each Christmas I have spent in this house (I have forced them each of the 30 plus Christmases I have lived here and then planted them in my yard each of the 30 plus springs that have followed).


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And I collected the brown eggs from my prolific hens.  

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I moved some St Josephs from a place of concealment to a place I will see each day when I drive up. These bulbs were from Miss Sue’s yard, a pass along plant, and are so valuable to me. How special that I am tending to them today, this day that is much about Italy for me. They bloom around March 19, the feast of St Joseph – the fava bean, the feasts at the altars, and all that great Italian cultural matter. The Universe is syncing for me today…


I am feeling  wonderful about this abandonment – no rules to follow today – just going where spirit takes me. That trip through Tuscany did it for me and the purity of my daughter’s viewpoint brought it home…I know I have said this before – we can learn so much from our kids – their minds are so open and untainted and they  generously share their thoughts and experiences, we need to listen.

So here is an entry that exemplifies the real reason I began this blog – it is a letter to “self” – it is my soul telling my ego what to do and because I enjoy writing – this is where I easily and comfortably go. And as I wrote many entries before, if my little “stories” are things you connect to also, then it is a really “good thing”, if not, it is just “my thing”…

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