Photograph courtesy of Benson Kua. Used under Creative Commons.
Nature is trying to take back my house. Ants, slugs, bees, weeds, birds, squirrels, beetles, and vines – all are intent on undoing any kind of order I attempt to create. There was a time when I would have thought about what this could mean. At a much younger age, I probably would have asked the universe exactly what it was trying to tell me. It isn’t that I’ve stopped believing that important messages can come to us in surprising ways when we pay attention; it’s just that I’m busy. I’m getting stuff done. I have this giant checklist, you see, and when it’s all finished, then I will have time to learn to whatever the universe thinks an army of ants has to teach me. That’s what I’ve been telling myself, anyway. Until yesterday.
Yesterday, one of my closest friends told me she was going to look up bee symbolism for me. I had been telling her about the three bumblebee nests that were in my attic – I’d even joked about the ‘bees in my head’ – but it never once occurred to me to think about bees in the attic on any other level than to address the gaps between the roof and the siding that are big enough in some places to accommodate a not-so-skinny cat. “Fix roof gaps” went on the task list, and that was that. But even though I was still too busy for bees, somewhere in a dusty cabinet, I knew I had a book about animal symbolism. I was sure the bees meant nothing, but it might be fun to look. Here’s what the book said:
The bee is the reminder to extract the honey of life and to make our lives fertile while the sun shines. The bee reminds us that no matter how great the dream, there is the promise of fulfillment if we pursue it. The elixir of life is as sweet as honey, and the bee is a symbol that promises us that the opportunity to drink of it is ours if we but pursue our dreams.” Animal-Speak, Ted Andrews
Now I admit that to my 41 year-old ears, that all sounds pretty hokey. As a twenty-something, I probably would have eaten that shit up. The elixir of life was where it was at for me once upon a place in a land long, long ago. But now? I laughed and shoved the book back on the shelf. My task list was waiting, and it wasn’t going to accomplish itself. But try as I might, I couldn’t get anything done. Why?
Because I was hearing bees.
I know – believe me, I know. I wouldn’t make this stuff up. I swear that no matter where I went in my house yesterday, I was convinced I heard bees. I stood on chairs and pressed my head to the ceiling, I knocked on the walls to try and make the sound louder, I even went into the attic to actually look for them. Which was no small act of courage, by the way. Alas, no bees. Still, the buzzing wouldn’t stop, and frankly I was beginning to nurse some strong concern about my own sanity. I needed something to do. Something to distract me. There had to be some task on my list that I could actually get done.
I sat down at my desk and looked at my list for the day, and then the week, and then the month. I’m not sure what I was hoping to find, but slowly it began to dawn on me that some important things were missing. Where was my book? Where was this blog? Where were any of the tasks associated with my dreams and my aspirations for myself alone?
They weren’t there. Not for the day, the week, the month, or even the year.
Now, it would be awesome if I could say that the buzzing stopped right at that moment. My story would tie up into a perfect little ‘meaning of life’ parable, and we could all go home. But it didn’t. Even as I write this, I swear I can still hear them. Those stupid bees. Am I losing my mind? Do I have the bee hebejebes? Could something simply be stuck in my ear? I don’t know. All I know for sure is that somehow the bees in my attic got me to see that I have been leaving myself off the list for longer than I care to admit. Also, I may need a good ear specialist. Or a shrink. Maybe an ear shrink. Do they make those? © 2012 Amy Bilhorn Thomas