I have a new novel roaming about inside my mind, I’ve entitled it, Dying Honey Bees.
I wrote the ending, I hate it, but I’m emotionally attached. So, I have a beginning and and ending – I wonder where this journey will take me?
Below I’ve shared the opening paragraphs. This is my rough draft before an editor gets all gram-early on my raw manuscript. I added the photo as I have imagined the book cover, the simplistic image tells the story.
Dying Honey Bees
They say we humans need honey bees to live. I do not know who they are, the pronoun usage a mystery to my fractured brain. Something or other about the bee kingdom’s ability to pollinate and be social with other forms of life. I don’t really know if that’s true, I’m not a scientist.
We need plant life for that pesky thing our bodies need, food. But that morning, a fragile honey bee lay dying near my well-worn tennis shoes. Instinctively, I knew there was nothing I could do. I think it important to listen to my instincts. It’s that hidden voice inside my mind that tells me the truth, even though I might not want to hear it.
I kneeled down and cradled the insect from off the hot concrete path. I hated to see any living thing suffer. I guess I’m softhearted, a poet’s heart, I presume. Many times on my early morning walks in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, I’d do the same courtesy for brown worms that had been displaced from the soil beneath a perfect St. Augustine grass lawn by an overactive irrigation system. The worms wiggled from fear, I guessed, as I do not know the mind of a worm. After I grasped them, and within seconds, I noticed they calmly rested within my cupped hands. Perhaps they sensed I meant them no harm.
I’d find them a nice fertile spot behind rose bushes, or beneath oak trees, or a lush green spot farther into a yard for the worm to regain its bearings and I hoped burrow back into the moist soil. If I found a dead bird, I’d do the same service and find them a peaceful spot to return to the earth. I don’t know what I’d do if I came across an injured animal. Perhaps I’d call animal control, but then they’d euthanize it. I’d experienced those moments growing up in Central Kentucky watching an injured thoroughbred taken down on a dirt race track. The idea being, the animal would no longer suffer. I thought it an undignified moment from my life as the animal had given its life for my drunken entertainment and unceremoniously extinguished from the living world and carted away.
My simple act was something I did and still do. My ex-wife thought it an odd peculiarity. But when I was a child, I read a Bible verse, “And be ye kind, one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, and then blah, blah, blah…”, I know it’s a King James Version as I’m not fluent in Hebrew or Greek. I must trust the former English monarch’s translation, and well, I made my point. I don’t want living things to suffer. I wish all living things just went to sleep one unknown night, and if it was just their appointed end time. Simply, they didn’t wake up.
Unfortunately, there is evil in this world, violence, anguish, and more suffering. I do not understand Devine’s Providence, but I guess if we don’t experience the ugly side, we cannot understand pure love. Loving one to the other being the most powerful emotion and action ever invented. The choice cannot be defined.
The honey bee in my right hand palm gasped for oxygen, its wings no longer workable. It had not fought me; it was powerless as its time on earth foraging was at an end. I found a quiet spot within a massive banyan tree for it to pass-on. A fig tree that grows over the host plant that had wasted away, leaving behind a hollow shell as its root system multiplies laterally around the center.
It was sad to me that the quivering honey bee had strayed from its hive and would never return to its home. It died as I stood nearby. I didn’t want it to die alone as morning sunlight shot yellow rays through gaps in the tree’s dangling aerial roots.
And then the honey bee became quiet and still within the tree’s inner core. I whispered a pray for peace. My preacher grandfather taught me to express something positive for the deceased. Then I dug a tiny hole in the sandy turf. I buried the insect. Its tiny body would decay and go all ashes to ashes and dust to dust, but at least I had taken a moment to express a dignity, a respect for its life. I decided at that moment that it was not the time spent on earth living; it was the quality within that beginning and the ultimate end date that mattered.