Droughts especially appear to have accompanied the spirits of the dead in bee-form, and for this reason the honey offering was almost always customary in rain-magic, and the power of predicting rain was attributed to the bee.
~ Hilda M. Ransome, The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore
Farmers depend on honey bees to pollinate ninety different fruits and vegetables, from almonds to lettuce to cranberries to blueberries to canola—nearly $15 billion worth of crops a year.
~ Hannah Nordhaus, The Beekeeper’s Lament
This morning on the front lawn a chattering of starlings were feasting on whatever it is they find in the grasses and eat for breakfast. They have probably been here as individuals throughout the summer, unnoticed by me, but they’re flocking together now. Or is that murmurating together? (Is that even a word?) As you probably already know (because you are a curious and smart group of people), the European Starling was brought to North America in the 19th century by some fans of Shakespeare. You might also know that the European Starlings in North America are descended from the original 100 birds that were let loose in New York City’s Central Park. There are now over 200 million starlings murmurating around the continent. They did a good job of going forth and multiplying.
During my morning practice on the front porch (and oh, it’s so wonderful to be able to do my yoga practice outdoors again!), our resident deer came by to munch on the clover and perhaps have a look at whatever that weird human was doing on the front porch. The other-than-human who live around here don’t seem to mind my chanting and singing very much. They stay to listen for a while. There were five fawns with three of the moms. I didn’t realize there were so many babies this year.
I’m practicing the Gayatri mantra. I did my first round of 108 repetitions the other day. I don’t know what I was expecting. For the heavens to open and a great awakening to occur?? Whatever I expected, that was not what happened. It was a good meditation. It was not mind-shattering although there might have been some feeling of expansion. I feel that in my practice anyhow. It’s a sense of space, within and without, of being small in the grand scheme of things and yet being a part of the grand scheme of things.
I’m not exactly sure why I started this post with quotes about bees or with an image of a beekeeper from the archives. Perhaps it’s the drought we’re experiencing and the idea of making an offering of honey in rain magic. We do need some rain magic and some rain. That seems to be true of a lot of places lately, not just here in the U.S. I read in the news that China has been seeding clouds in their own attempts at rain magic. Farmers in many parts of the U.S. are giving up on orchards and crops, sometimes destroying them. Reservoirs in the southwest are at record lows and the water system, they say, has reached a tipping point where cuts to water supplies are necessary. The problem in the southwest has been going on for at 23 years. And yet, they’ve done little to solve it.
Conservation appears to be a dirty word in a capitalist society. Well, Mother Nature will likely have her say about that. Eventually.
We have had our own water problems here on the ranch. A week or so before we left for vacation, the water pump stopped working. Naturally it happened on a Sunday afternoon. The man who owns the well company originally dug our well (back in the 90’s before we arrived on the scene) and services our well (on the rare occasions it needs servicing) happens to live nearby. When M called him and gave our address, the man said, “Oh! You’re the trash man!” This was confusing to M and eventually the Well Man said, “You know, the guy who picks up trash on the road?” Ah, so. Yes, that’s M. And me, on occasion.
Someone came out within a few hours and replaced the pump. We were told that we also needed to replace the wiring. It’s old and fraying. We scheduled it and asked to have the well sanitized (it’s a good idea to do that once in a great while), but they keep cancelling on us due to other water (and well) emergencies. I do wish they’d get the work done, but I’m not going to grouch about them helping others who are without water.
I brought a few things — other than words and images — to share with you. First, there is this article about June Huh, a mathematician who dropped out of high school to become a poet and who eventually found math. That might not sound particularly interesting to those who are not interested in math. Although I am not particularly good with math (I went to school at a time and place where it was thought that girls did not need anything beyond the basic math needed to cook and take care of the household accounts), I did find the math bits of the article fascinating even if I didn’t understand them. No, it’s not the math that brought about my recommendation. It’s the man, June Huh, that the article is about. Read it and you’ll see what I mean. He has a unique approach to life and problem solving.
I think intention and willpower … are highly overrated. You rarely achieve anything with those things.
~ June Huh
In regards to the other-than-human and whether or not they pay attention to us, there is this article by Heather Swan about owls and the death of her father.
And, for a little levity, a Dr. Glaucomflecken video: The Farmer Pain Scale. I’ve been following Dr. Glaucomfecken for a while, perhaps able to relate to his humor and videos because M used to teach medical students (and many of our friends did and/or still do and/or are in the basic sciences). But I don’t think you need to be in the medical world to appreciate this (or maybe any of his videos since it is likely we’ve all had some experience with doctors and the medical community).
Thank you for stopping by today and joining me in the garden. Let’s meet at the Point for sunset this evening. It’s scheduled for 7:54 PM. Maybe we could do a little rain dance, in praise of the rain that might come this weekend, making it welcome and showing some gratitude for the water that falls from the sky and nourishes life.
Please be safe, be well, and just Be.
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 2,076) Zinnias, cosmos, and all the flowers of summer. 2,077) Water, especially clean water for drinking and cooking. 2,078) Mother Nature. 2,079) The changing sounds of the bird songs at dawn. 2,080) Learning, about art, about life, about yoga, about myself (and my Self).