With my best friend moving away, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about connections. With whom do you feel connected? When do you decide to be connected? Sometimes connections are instantaneous but a true connection cannot be mistaken for a simple infatuation. Other connections take a long time to create, like weaving a tapestry. Slowly, over years, your weave that other person into your life, your stories are so embedded, it’s impossible to imagine properly finishing the tapestry without their presence. But I think of those grand Afghan carpets with the elaborate medallion in the center, with heavy emphasis on a particular color and I think of life similarly. As time passes, the emphasis of the carpet shifts and new patterns emerge. The grand scheme is not lost and there is no desire to unravel anything.
The most important connection one must have is to be connected to themselves, to be grounded. You have to like yourself and your own company. It is something I have come to appreciate. When I was a child, I was quite solitary and the activities of childhood that I recall most vividly are the things I did alone: riding my bicycle all over Cutler Ridge, reading in the wedge of space between my bed and the window in my room, sitting under the footbridge and feeding the gar bread balls or sitting in the concrete pipes at Pinelands Presbyterian Church. I have returned to doing similarly solitary activities in the last year. Much of it involves working in the yard, gardening or weeding. I like to cook and bake. I returned to walking regularly. And today, I got a new beehive. I hadn’t realized how emotionally connected I had become to the bees until they were gone. The anticipation of the new hive has been building for months. Today, I brought home a very vibrant five frame Nuk box. The men at Dadant pulled each frame searching for the queen. None of them were wearing bee suits, a few using a Marlboro as their personal smoker. One man blew on the bees crawling in a mound on one corner of the frame. He looked like he was whispering his question, “Where is your queen?” I brought the bees home and gave them a feeder bottle of sugar water. Within a few hours they were out of the hive exploring.
I felt connected again. I provide them with space to roam and explore, to gather pollen and to make their hive. They provide me with the sheer tantalizing rush of handling their frames and hearing them swarm around me. Soon, I will have my own honey again. The bees make me feel connected. I feel vital and significant somehow. I feel like I protect them. It feels mutual, like I am some nature reserve. As I sit here writing, I know they are out in the back yard, hunkered down for the night, bunched up into the Nuk box to stay warm while the nearly full moon shines down from above. This is my little masted sailing ship, free to set about this life. Having my bees back makes me feel like a small bit of my world has been righted.