August 17, 2010


For the past two years, few honey bees visited my garden; but this season they are back. I’ve always had bumble bees. It’s hard to miss them with their large furry bodies and black and yellow stripes. The honey bees, being smaller and less colorful, aren’t as eye-catching but this summer I see them everywhere and their presence makes me happy. It’s not because I like honey. I do, of course, but like wine, I don’t indulge much. I’m at an age when my entire anatomy wants to sag, so putting on weight would only make the sagging obvious. I’ve cut back on my honey, but I don’t want to cut back on honey bees.

I like them for the good work they perform in my garden. They’re industrious and create abundance in this world without doing harm.

I can’t say the same for spiders. They are solitary creatures that lie in wait for the hapless honey bees to fly into their webs. Still, I admire their industry, too.  Yesterday, I had to break a web that was strung a distance of twelve feet across my driveway. I broke another web at the same spot the day before. I didn’t destroy either of them with pleasure. I admired the enormity of the spider’s canvas, as well as its tenacity. If I could talk to the creature, I’d apology for the damage I’d done and explain that occasionally, I do have to use my car. Perhaps then we could come to an accommodation.

Yesterday, as I observing the bees and the spiders, it occurred to me that writers behave like insects. Certainly they are industrious. Certainly they weave plots to ensnare us, and there’s little doubt they pollinate our minds with their ideas. For me, buying a new book is like collecting honey. It’s a sweet time. 

Today, I’m headed for the bookstore. One of my favorite authors has a new novel in paperback. I do hope the spider in my driveway hasn’t been busy overnight.