That seventh bee sting



[Side-yard path formerly used as a shortcut until the homeowners erected that fence]

Last night in the moonlight I shoveled a path from my kitchen door to a birdfeeder hanging from a wrought-iron hook attached to our deck railing. And then, beneath the quiet magic of an almost full moon, Jupiter beside it, I filled the feeder with the best birdseed Target sells so, first thing this morning, my neighborhood’s sparrows and juncoes and house finches and cardinals and blue jays and, yes, pesky squirrels (when I’m not keeping watch), could have breakfast.

After the first blizzard dumped two feet of snow, I’d waded through my backyard’s drifts and climbed up the snow-covered steps  to the deck and shoveled the first, such path. But after our second storm and another foot or so, the snow was just too deep to wade through, again. Opening the kitchen door with all that new snow drifted against it? It would only open an inch or so. So I gave up.

Yesterday had been a hard day; I’m going to respect the privacy of a family member and just leave it at that. And just getting around, going about my usual, day-to-day life in a densely populated community under more than three feet of snow? Very challenging, very tiring. (Thank God the Patriots won or folks would be even more cranky!)

So, worn out and blue, I’d opted to lie on the couch under a thick quilt and read.

But then, something pulled me off the couch and into a kitchen drawer to find, yes! A metal, broad-bladed spatula, i.e. a tiny shovel. “I can dig a bit at a time until I can get the door to open wide enough to get a shovel out there,” I reasoned. And I did, scooping the “shoveled” snow into a bowl and dumping it into the sink.

There’s a theory concerning poverty that says that being poor, being oppressed, is like being stung multiple times by bees. A stung person can handle the first two or three stings, can treat the pain, but when the numbers climb—let’s say that sixth bee sting—he or she just gives up. Endures. Tries to ignore painful reality.

And some say that this is true—but not a universal phenomenon. One article I read discussed empowerment as a variable, for example.

First acknowledging that in a very deep way I will never know what it means to be poor and oppressed, I wish to simply acknowledge the power of moonlight. And grace. (Which is all to say, mystery, right?) I do not completely understand what compelled me to do something I, exhausted and depressed, had given up on but am so very, very grateful I could.

So are all the sparrows and juncoes and . . .



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1 Comment

  1. My so, so very dearest and precious white sisterfriend, Patricia, my longer replies still won’t go through but I’ll never ever give up and I’ll For Always keep trying. Sister, you are such a blessed, cool, and avid lover of nature, birds and other animals, and of people. You are so sensitive and dear to me and other indigent persons.

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