My chair in the living room is right in front of the sliding glass door that looks out onto the deck by the water. I watch as birds fly by. I love it when the Mallards and Canada Geese swim in front of our home. Occasionally, I see a big fat fly buzzing at the screen. A wasp or two will make an appearance. But, near as I can tell, no bees.
Not until I go out onto the deck and sit in my chair. All of a sudden, from out of seemingly nowhere, comes the bee.
What's disconcerting about this visit is that the bee seems to be staring right at me.
He (or she - I think it may be a she), seems to stand - or fly - perfectly still. About three or four feet from where I'm sitting. Maybe a little side to side motion every once in a while, but mostly, just there. In front of me. Staring at me.
Creeps me out.
I'm not sure if I look like a flower or a predator.
I've tried to do a little research about what bees see. The one helpful thing I've learned is that bees see things almost five times faster than humans.
They also see in color, allowing them to find flowers vs. shrubs. Apparently, they like red and yellow best, probably because they are easier to see. They aren't as attracted to green, unless there are colors on the green.
Yes, I was wearing something green. No other color. Just green. So, this bee shouldn't be so interested in me, right? But s/he is. Very.
San people tell of a bee that carried a mantis across a river. The exhausted bee left the mantis on a floating flower but planted a seed in the mantis's body before it died. The seed grew to become the first human.
In many cultures, they are seen as messengers from the Gods. The Homeric Hymn to Apollo acknowledges that Apollo's gift of prophecy first came to him from three bee maidens, usually identified with the Thriae. The Thriae was a trinity of pre-Hellenic Aegean bee goddesses.
And, of course, honey is known by many as being the nectar of the Gods.
I was considering all these things and wondering what they meant when I got a text message from one of our kids. She had been away on a business trip where the outcome was uncertain, came home and found that one of her mirrors had fallen off the wall and was shattered on the floor.
"What do you think that means?" she asked.
I burst out laughing and wrote, "It means what you want it to mean."
"Apparently, it means that my boyfriend is going to have seven years of bad luck for breaking my mirror," she wrote.
I have no doubt.
I could hear Stevie Wonder's song in the backgound:
Very superstitious, writing's on the wallWhich got me to wondering about prayer chains. You know, they abound in many churches. The idea, I suppose, is that if you get enough people praying the same thing you increase your chances of catching God's ear and changing the outcome.
Very superstitious, ladders bout' to fall
Thirteen month old baby, broke the lookin' glass
Seven years of bad luck, the good things in your past
When you believe in things that you don't understand
Then you suffer
Superstition ain't the way
At least, I think that's what some people think. Or, maybe they become part of a prayer chain because it helps not to feel quite so hopeless and helpless. "At least, I can pray."
I know I have been asked to pray for people who have prefaced their request with, "I'm asking you because you're a priest and you have God's ear."
I usually answer, "I will pray for you but you have to know that I am not any closer to God's ear than you are." I say that because I believe it. I don't believe that priests are talismans. Hopefully, we live a dedicated life of prayer, but I don't think that comes with any guarantees.
I pray not because I believe I can change anything. Rather, I pray because it changes me. It makes me more thoughtful of and compassionate towards the sufferings of others.
It's sort of like bees in a hive, I suppose. Our prayers are like gathered pollen which turns into a nectar for the soul, sweeter than fine honey.
Maybe that's the 'message' that bee was trying to give me this morning. To work harder - be more industrious - in my prayer life.
Then again, maybe it was just a bee, doing what bees do.
Just in case, I'll throw some salt over my left shoulder. Or, is it my right?
Maybe I'll just go spend some time in meditation instead. But, not on the deck where that bee will come and stare at me.
Creeps me out.