Here I am after several weeks of being in the dumps – some about my deteriorating health, some financial, but mostly just the state of the nation and the world. The Germans with their love of jamming all the words together to make one huge word would call my angsty gloom…panicshamefurydisgustwearysorrowloathing. And they’d be correct.
I thought and thought about what I could do. What I could REALLY do. Besides my standard barrage of mail, which I did slack off on for a week or so because I got that hopeless about everything but took up again and became a regular contributor to Senator Gillibrand’s reelection fund too. I don’t worry about Chuck Schumer, the guy has his face in front of every and any camera pointed toward him, even dental x-ray cameras, plus he’s too well-connected to sweat reelection. However, the 2016 elections taught me to be very vigilant if there’s a woman in a position of influence and power and there’s even the vaguest possibility some schmuck who has nothing going for him except a penis and an ego might want to take her out. Even here in the liberal stronghold of New York it’s not paranoid to be cautious and prepared. Not after Trump. Nuh uh. So along with my endorsement and money if Senator Gillibrand’s campaign needs door-to-door hucksters or phone monkeys or envelope stuffers I am so there. But that’s for later, what could I do NOW?
I finally hit on it.
A bee meadow. Sanctuary. A place for bees to be.
It will take a few years to bring it to full bloom. But even this year I can make a grand start. To that end I have researched what kinds of flowers I need to encourage and what other helps I can put in the bees’ haven.
That is a bee waterer. Bees can and do drink at bird baths but it’s a risky thing. They are often knocked in and drown or chased away by aggressive birds. A small shallow dish filled with marbles or rocks that provide the bees with a sturdy landing place and the water isn’t too deep makes for an ideal bee water station. I’ve got my dishes picked out, a couple even fit in the crooks of trees, and plenty of rocks and marbles. I am looking forward to making filling the bee water one of the things I do before work. Could anything be nicer? Out in the morning with my watering can walking the paths and just being with my friends the trees, seeing the flowers come up, and hopefully as the season progresses seeing the bees doing their thing?
This I can do.
I’ve looked into getting a bee box. Not for the honey, though I wouldn’t mind making a wax harvest once a year or so (who doesn’t love beeswax candles?), the bee box would be for the bees to live in relatively unmolested. But I think to be a decent host to a new colony of bees I’d best have their food source doing well first.
So. A bee place.
Mick has his part of the lawn downhill over the leach field and along the street-edge property line. I think traditional lawns are gross. Big, toxic dumps of fertilizers, insect poisons, and weed killers (thanks, Monsanto!) meticulously groomed by ugly noisy polluting machines run mostly by undocumented workers being ripped off by bosses who pay below minimum wage and dare their easily deported workers to call someone and complain. Feh on lawns.
But, y’all know Mick. The man thrives on tidiness. So I bought him a rechargeable electric mower and let him go nuts on the crab-grassy parts of the lawn visible from the road. But up the hill, beneath and between the trees, and in the wild places where feral grapes grow and the not-forgotten but definitely neglected botanical crossbreeds originally bred by Marie my house’s first occupant have gone amok, that part of the yard is mine. I do not say ‘lawn’. This is the yard. A 2+ acre parcel where thousands of daffodils run riot, where hybrid trees produce hearty nuts and fruits once thought they might be of use to the War Department, a place where clover and hen grass and Job’s tears and lilacs can knock you down with olfactory joy. And this year I am extending the springtime bacchanalia into summer and even fall with the planting of more flowers, and more, and then some more.
One of my literary crushes Cynthia Heimel pointed out in her turn as the fictitious Answer Lady, NOBODY can fix everything but everybody can fix SOMETHING. It’s true! She chose to rescue a particular breed of dog. I am offering up a place for bees.
Will my bee sanctuary solve everything? Tsk! Of course not. But it’s something. My bee place under the once-disciplined-now-wild-and-relaxed trees is MY stand. My own, small (perhaps ultimately dopey and futile) way to give back. I am making the effort to do A Thing.
Maybe that’s all any of us can do.
Go. Say hello to your neighbor. Sign a petition. Donate money/clothes/time/expertise. Smile. Run for office. Give a homeless person a lunch. Adopt a stray- feline, canine, human, it matters not. Water some bees. Plant some trees. Help somebody pass a test.
I believe in you. I know every single person who reads this blog post can Do A Thing.
If not for those you help, then do it for you. Do it as a bulwark against the rising darkness. Spit in the eye of those who (wearily/gleefully) claim decency lost. Think of Randy Quaid in ‘Independence Day’.
Sometimes that’s all there is.
Sometimes the Germans bomb Pearl Harbor.
But we can ALL do A Thing.
Find yours and get back to me. Much love, ~LA