Saturday, 7 March 2009


Snowdrops mixed with autumn leaves

Purple crocuses

Daffodils lit up from the glow
of a temperamental sun

Lots of sad news this week, tempered by some blessings:
  • The 50th birthday lunch of a good friend ("well, it is better than the alternative")
  • Clean lymph nodes; is there anyone still innocent of the importance of that news?
  • Spring flowers; even though they come around every year, doesn't it seem like we especially need them this year?

Every day, the good and bad and mundane all mixed together. This poem -- with its irresistible title -- spoke to me particularly loudly.


by Jane Hirshfield

In every instant, two gates.

One opens to fragrant paradise,

one to hell.

Mostly we go through neither.

Mostly we nod to our neighbor,

lean down to pick up the paper,

go back into the house.

But the faint cries—ecstasy? horror?

Or did you think it the sound of distant bees,

making only the thick honey of this good life?


Travis Erwin said...

I am ready for spring and good fishing weather.

She said...

Your photos are breathtaking! That poem also took my breath away.

I'm glad to hear of your blessings in the midst of the "lots of sad news."

It is those blessings that carry us through the tough times.

Peace to you!

A Thousand Clapping Hands said...

Thank you so much for your visit. I am delighted to find your blog! My company was indeed appreciative...It is always a sensory overload at my house and they are used to the theatre that goes on here!! You have beautiful flowers there too. Spring is popping up all over. I'm such a recluse that blogs tend to be how I discover that the season is changing. And then, of course, I venture out, as I did yesterday. Cherry blossoms already!!! And lots of BEES!
All the best -

marja-Leena said...

Oh, how lovely! Spring is late here this year, we even had snow last night. The snowdrops and crocuses are out but not the daffodils! Keep on counting those blessings, Bee, and the sadness will pass.

Debski Beat said...

Well Bee,

I've done the 50th birthday thing, its certainly better than the alternative tempered by hot flushes and an overwhelming desire to wear Vivvianne Westwood for the end of my days, but ... still as confused as at 5 years but have gained the ability to look more composed about it all :)

Clean lymph nodes, I have become all too familiar with this and is the best news heard at times.

Spring flowers ... LOVE THEM !! I think they are far more dramatic than summer flowers as they just break their way through absolutely determined to be born.

Best Bee quote ( other than your own words of course ... simper simper :)

"That buzzing-noise means something. If there's a buzzing-noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee...And the only reason for being a bee that I know of is making hunny...And the only reason for making hunny is so that I can eat it."

P said...

This post is heaven - crocuses AND good news. The poem is wonderful - here is another that you may already know. It's one of my favorites.

flawsnall said...

this pictures are very touching; i am so ready for spring---for, us north Texans, it's warm today mid 80s and threatening rain---so so so ready.

JaneyV said...

Your daffs are already out! How lovely. Mine are not quite there yet. The blooms are tapping on the sepals in my garden and will burst out his week. The crocuses and the snowdrops under my magnolia are at their best right now. It's such a boost to see them.

When sad things happen it's good to fill our thoughts with gratitude for the blessings we receive daily. I truly believe that thankfulness is the shortest road to happiness. All the blessings you mentioned are a wonderful affirmation of life and worth celebrating.

I hope that the sadness you've been feeling ebbs away soon and that the renewal of spring brings you healing energy.

Cyber hugs to you dear Bee ;0) x

herhimnbryn said...

I hope the heaven outweighs the hell.

♥ Braja said...

I agree...crocuses and good news, who can beat that?


La Belette Rouge said...

I love your pictures of Spring. I love those well earned blossoms. I hope that this week has more happy news and less of the sad kind.

Fantastic Forrest said...

Love the poem. You always manage to tempt me to leave my house and visit your fragrant paradise. You make nice honey, Bee!

Here's a funny post from Popstar Poetry about Bees - hope that helps balance some of your sad news!

Lisa said...

I'm glad for your blessings. The pictures made my heart leap with their color and freshness.

And the poem made me smile. Sometimes I need to be better about not trying to peer behind the gates and just walk away enjoying the buzz of plain old bees.

Bee said...

Travis - We are going to Texas in April, and the children always go fishing at the creek when we are there.

She - I took all of those photos on my walk yesterday -- but none of them are in my garden. We have a lone daffodil, but lots of others will be following soon.

ATCH - Cherry blossoms already? How wonderful. None of our bees are about yet; they wait for the lavender.

Marja-leena - Yes, I know you are right.

Debski Beat - Thank you so much for the bee words! Next time you are in England, we should visit the 100 acre wood.

P - I will look up your poem. Thanks so much for visiting.

flawsnall - does it feel like summer, but look like winter? My mother, who is in central TX, says it is very dry.

Janey - Well, most of our garden is made up of promising green shoots . . . something to look forward to. Thanks for your virtual hug, dear JV.

herhimnbryn - For all of us!

Braja - And there are tulips to come! Lots of new ones, and I can't even remember what got planted.

La Belette Rouge - Thanks for your kind thoughts.

FF - I'm always on the look-out for good "bee" stuff = thanks!

Lisa - It always amazes me that certain things in life (like spring) can be counted on for a response of gladness.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous photos. I love these wild flowers of spring, makes one feel so close to nature.

CJ xx

Beth said...

Your entire post captures the theme of life being a mixture of the good and the bad, the delightful and the sad – and that in order to appreciate it one must be capable of recognizing (both seeing and hearing) them all.

willow said...

It's a balance, the good with the bad in this life, isn't it? It brings to mind Aunt Eller's little chat with Laurie, in "Oklahoma".

Your spring flower pics are wonderful!

Anonymous said...

B, Your are too clever with your lovely photos and poems. You seem to have the ability to pick just the right thought for the day.
I am Reading The Secret Life of Bees for my book club. I love S.M.K's desriptions of flowers they are so real I imagine the scent is there just waiting for me to inhale it.
Last week being the start of Lent had me reminiscing over Carnival and I played the Bees in Town track. Kick started my day and made me feel energised. I used the energy boost to cook. I still need to post photos of the llamas. Looking forward to more spring pics from your walk abouts.

linda said...

ah bee, I thought I commented here already but it's not here so i suppose i didn't do it and my good intentions lulled me into just pondering...

this poem is breathtaking and so is your news! happy spring~the flowers say it all...

heaven and hell and never choosing either...amazing...


Barrie said...

My friend had clear lymph nodes. yay. But then I bumped into a woman I know through my children; she did not. ;(

Bee said...

CJ - thanks! I love the fact that there are new things to look at every day at this time of year.

Beth - Yes, that's just what I was trying to say!

Willow - You've got to take the rough with the smooth.

Bon Bon -- I enjoyed that book . . . there is something so fascinating about bees. Looking forward to the llama pics!

Linda - It IS nice to just ponder sometimes. Perhaps we need a symbol to indicate that pondering is taking place?

Barrie - Yes; sadly the statistics are sometimes made up of people we know. My former boss died of cancer a couple of weeks ago and I just found out. She was only 50, and it has hit me very hard. WHY?

Elizabeth said...

Springlike and wonderful in a quit English way.
Very refreshing.
Yes, I agree about the poem exactly.........
Such choices - sometimes - and other things that just blindside us.

Nimble said...

Here in Kansas there are a few new leaves peeking out and some crocuses but the trees and brush are still brown. So I'm waiting for the vivid green color to jump out at me.

Sometimes spring can feel like a very unstable season. I hope you see more sun and feel more energy instead.

I saw Jane Hirshfield read in San Francisco once, she was delightful. Her October Palace is one of my favorite poetry books. (I only have a few.)

@P Thank you for the E.B. White link -- I love it!

Gifted Typist said...

Sweet like honey - and the photos are making me yearn for England in spring, even spring would do right now.

Anonymous said...

These photos make me long for Englsih gardens in spring.

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

A lovely post, dearest Bee. I saw two huge bumblebees this weekend, which means Spring is here (I keep telling myself this, anyway). Longer, warmer days ahead.


julochka said...

i too have snowdrops poking up through last autumn's leaves. it makes me feel hopeful, even in the face of lack of grey cloudy days. spring is in the air.

Anil P said...

The blessings will always overcome all else, the best things will always prevail.

The pictures you posted lift the spirits, wondrous are they in the promise they hold.

Reya Mellicker said...

I love the poem! Oh and the pics are just perfect. Apparently DC and your corner of the U.K. are synched up. I saw all the same flowers this morning when the dog and I took our walk.

Spring is always always always welcome! (Had to say it three times).

And speaking of bees, I'm seeing more honeybees this year than I have in several years. Seems like a good portent.

Stacy Nyikos said...

I wonder how many days I've wasted leaning down for the paper rather than following some other path. It seems almost a part of human nature, the craving for the routinized, the mundane. Can one live at a revolutionary high, or only every once in a while nip at the energy that bubbles there?

Dumdad said...

"Spring flowers; even though they come around every year, doesn't it seem like we especially need them this year?"

You're so right. Great photos and they put my earlier posting of my crocuses somewhat in the shade. Roll on summer.

Maggie May said...

i love the word crocus- and clean lymph nodes, yes, i totally understand.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

I always feel far heartier with the arrival of bouncy spring lambs, Bee - Thinking of you and sending you blessings for more good things...

I love the beauty of your bees!

Dick said...

Incontrovertible evidence of the imminence of spring, Bee. Thanks for the good news so beautifully imparted.

Bee said...

Elizabeth - Yes, those flower shots are veddy English; just as the ones that you've recently posted are so quintessentially Indian with their shocking pink colours.

Nimble -- We have lots of brown, too. The hedges and the trees aren't showing many signs, yet. Unstable is a good word for spring. Oh, I would like to see Jane!

Gifted Typist - I wish that I could send you some daffodils!

The Things We Carried - Yes; every day I look at my tulip shoots and will them to grow FASTER.

JAPRA -- Bees are such a good sign! :)

Julochka - Even though I know that I shouldn't want to rush through my life, I am always anxious to get to the next season -- particularly spring!

Anil - I hope you are right. Mostly I do think that.

Reya - I can't believe your sudden gush of warm weather. News of bees is always welcome . . . they've been having such a hard time of it.

Stacy - Truly, I think that heaven/hell is a bit heavy for a regular diet. (Reading the paper is bad enough!)

Dumdad - Rain and flowers; they do go together, I guess. Always the bite; always the blessing, too.

Maggie May - Some flower names are just so pleasing. I feel that way about hyacinth.

Woman -- Thanks for the cheer you bring, oh funny one.

Prabath said...

Daffodils are my favourite flowers. I like that pic and your scenery pics are more beautiful. Keep it up.

Lucy said...

Hunted out the Rilke quote that poem reminded me of:
'We are the bees of the invisible. We ceaselessly gather the honey of the visible to store it in the great golden hive of the Invisible.'

Something magic about bees...

The spring flowers do seem especiallly welcome, though slow in coming. I haven't felt a winter this hard for a long time. I hope the blessings continue to come for you.

Lucy said...

... and the sad news is not overwhelming.

Sarah Laurence said...

Spring! Spring! Spring! Thanks, Bee, I needed that today. It shall come to Maine someday. Good to hear your good news. Things will get better....

Tessa said...

Seeing your lovely photographs and reading - and re-reading - that superb poem made me feel as though I've come out of a dark room and am now blinking happily in the sunshine. Beautiful photos, thoughtful ponderings. Thank you, Bee.

Bee said...

Dick - I love this stage; where there are new budding things every day.

Prabath - Thanks!

Lucy - Thank you for Rilke's words. Bees are so mysterious: prosaic insects, and yet, they fertilize the fruits and flowers and make delicious honey (with its magical properties).

Sarah - I wish that I could send you some of our delicate narcissus!

Tessa - Oh, thank you. The pleasure is all mine. :)

gabe said...

Thanks for the hope.
Nice blog!