Being with a bee.
Camilla rushes in, there’s a bumble bee stranded on the pavement. Victim, we assume, of one of the cars streaking past too forcefully for its fragile wings to have handled, causing it to tumble and fall and get struck. She quickly used an envelope to pick up the deliciously fat and furry little ball of yellow and black. She laid it on soft tissue upon the slate table in our street-side courtyard and we fed it liquid honey from a spoon, but noticed its right wing and middle right leg were out of position. Poor thing. We tended to it for as long as its proboscis supped up the reviving feed from the jar of organic honey kept only for this purpose.
Our hearts often go out to the injured, and today we wanted to give this precious little creature which plays such a vital role in nature a chance, but all we could do was ensure that it was as comfortable as possible. Next time we looked, the bumble bee was on its back, we turned it over. It loved the honey, but took ages to retract its proboscis.
The bumble bee which we set to one side under the shelter of pot plants, shivers. It hasn’t the energy to withdraw its proboscis, this most vital bit of kit, from the edge of the liquid honey. That’s serious, poor thing, its short time is almost done, but my heart aches for it to live. Much earlier in the day, somebody had said, “Squash it, put it out of its misery.”
I can’t, I keep hoping it will revive. Life is precious, though we squander away our allotted hours existing in a bubble disconnected to the existence which pulses all around us every second. When was the last time you sank without thought’s distractions and resided in the moment? The simple act of bathing in life’s sensual input replenishes the weary mind.
There was no escaping the fact that I who knows a tiny little bit of what suffering is, had prolonged the bumble bee’s suffering. Ought I now crush it? I once reversed my car over a failing rabbit I had accidentally crushed when it jumped in to the road, but the thought of taking the life of this bee hurt my heart. Perhaps the reason is that it’s not been long since I was last on the very edge?
Several hours have passed since the start of this bee saga and the wonderful ball of life is back on its back. Furthermore, it hasn’t moved in an hour. I nudge it gently with a leaf and it wriggles its legs. God. I have kept this thing, which has no hospital to cure it, suffering for far too long. Finally, realising what must be done, I steel myself, take a deep breath and use a stone to rapidly crush it.
A stain in the soil. I walk inside dreadfully heavy of heart. I’ve murdered a Bumble Bee. Worse, I did so hours in to letting it suffer.
Hope distorted my judgement. Hope, they tell us, is vital for our mental health. Without it, they say, life feels empty and grey and flat. I have found this not to be so. Hope, in my experience, warps the mind, builds up expectation, removes us from what is happening. Any solution to our angst is here in this split second, right here as the universe unfolds around us. Better be freed from desire’s grip and simply be, relishing this present moment. Loving the fact that you are alive, are the culmination of almost four billion years of evolution which links you to the bumble bee, which has given you the universe’s most perfect form and brain. What could be more wonderful than bathing in this awareness?