The Secret (Life of) Bees


“THE MURMURING of bees has ceased;
But murmuring of some
Posterior, prophetic,
Has simultaneous come,–

The lower metres of the year,
When Nature’s laugh is done,–
The Revelations of the book
Whose Genesis is June.”

–Emily Dickinson

This poem felt most appropriate today: the sun was shining, the temperature was in the upper forty’s, the sky was cloudless.  It was spring without being spring – a precursor to both warmer weather and the siting of new tenants taking up rental space in the hives tucked away up in the darker parts of the shed out back.  Despite the fact that I know the “murmuring of bees has ceased”, I caught myself listening for it, looking for bright spots of yellow among the withered vestiges in my mother’s flower beds.  Could this be the “prophetic” aspect the poet refers to, a “murmuring” heard before it is made – the same voice spoken in the past and future “simultaneous[ly]”?  It is during these “lower metres of the year” – the “posterior” or ending, if you will, of nature’s four seasons – that one has the freedom to reflect on time past.  My February feels like December, and my rain feels like snow (the clouds never seem to change, except to play hiding games with the sun).

I am looking forward to the time of the bees, to the rekindling of “nature’s laugh”.  I wish I could flip to the ending of this season as I can with a “book” – to skip to the end of summer’s “Revelations” as easily as I might with the aforementioned biblical text.  The beginning, or “Genesis”, of the time of the bees is over half a book away, with several chapters between then and now.  In June, I will hear new “murmurings” again.


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