Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Warm Bee is Better Than a Wet Bee

Bees don't like bananas, getting wet, perfume, and stressed out people. They do like early mornings, warm days and living in hives of 60,000. If all goes well we'll have one of those in our backyard by June.

This is SD's adventure more than mine. As long as I've known him he's been wanting a hive. So when the Essex County Bee Association advertised their Bee School he signed us up.  For the next eight Tuesdays we'll be learning the art and skill of the beekeeper, and once the class is done we'll be installing our own "package", watching the bees "drawing out" the comb, and harvesting over 8 gallons of honey.

Prior to our first class last night I didn't know much about bees.  I'd gotten pretty good at spotting bee hives, and using honey in just about everything, but that's about it. I've read A Country Year: Living the Questions, and while it's a good overview I'm no where near ready to put on a bee suit and open a hive. But after our first class, I'm beginning to think this may be doable.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Biggest Adventure

Snow storm - the day after
A few weeks ago while in the center of a crowded library a colleague asked me how my mom was.  With about 10 college students less than 5 feet away, I really didn't want to say and mumbled something I hoped would change the subject. But she persisted. Insisting while it was admirable that I was caring for my mother while she was ill, I really needed to talk about it. I needed to tell her how my mother was. Exasperated, I replied, "Well, she's still dead."

And unbelievably, she still is. This December, in what I've come to refer to as "The Month" my mom actually died. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on Thanksgiving Day. A week later they told her she had 3-4 weeks to live. On December 29 she passed. From the time of her diagnosis, until the end, I was with her. And it is a bittersweet month I will always treasure.  If Adventure is, as I have come to define it, the time when you live close to the bare essentials of life. The starkest, realest adventure is that of the life and death kind and Mom was, it turns out, a great adventurer.

She never really understood my adventures. The extended backpacking and biking trips totally mystified her. Even the short day hikes, bikes, and paddles were puzzling. But when it came time for this last adventure she was amazing.  It was raw, a month outside of 'regular life'.  A month when just the essentials were important. When all people talked about was what we really meant when we said such and such, or why we did something years ago. A month when we looked through photo albums and learned things about each other and others in the family we didn't know. A month when often, we were just together, silently.  A month when a veritable army of kind strangers came out of no where to provide the exact help we needed, even before we knew we needed it. And a month when old friends were there too, with loving words and arms to hold us. A month where I realized that much of mom's life was lived close to the essentials of life, and that was the reason she did not understand my need to seek out adventure.  A month, that for a brief time, mom and I were adventurers together.

And as the weeks pass, my rude and exasperated reply to that insistent colleague rings even more true.  I still expect it to be my mom when the phone rings between 6:00-7:00pm. I still remind myself to call her when there's a new episode of the "Big Bang Theory". I still check the garden so I can tell her when the first signs of spring appear. And then I remember, yup, she's still dead. Sometimes it takes a whole minute before that reality hits me upside the head. I want to tell her that the crocus's are up way too early, that Punxatawny Phil saw his shadow, or that my hair is finally starting to straighten  but then I remember, I won't be telling her, she's "still dead", but somehow, our Adventure continues.

Monday, February 11, 2013


Here, by popular demand is the sliding video:

And here from 2011, is the big sliding video: