Sunday Best – July 16, 2017

56 Seconds

This week my best hour was spent walking in the field with two small humans.  We sang to alert the bears, we looked for turkey tracks, we did crazy wiggly dances, we counted the different types of grasses, we stood by the beehives for a long long time and were very very still.

And then, at the end of the path, the real highlight – we met this new little friend!

Dear Honeybees, LOOK at this little worm! The stretching, the exploring, the anchoring, the leaping, the yearning, the twisting and turning and finally making a new plan when the first one is just not the way to go. Isn’t it glorious?

Sometimes when you’re right there in it, it’s hard to tell. Is it time to stretch? time to anchor? time to leap? or maybe time to turn a different way altogether?

Take a minute – a single minute – and cheer this inchworm on as she (and we) figure it out.


 * If you need the direct video link, here it is:

 * I might not have noticed this little one if I hadn’t seen a recent wormy image from Maria Popova of BrainPickings – how grateful I am for this influence!


Sunday Best – July 9, 2017

The root of the matter.

Loyal Honeybee readers will know that I’ve been sharing my fascination with mycorrhizal networks for some time now. These wonders star in Peter Wohlleben’s terrific Hidden Life of Trees as well as in numerous publications we noted here about a year ago.

Lately, I’ve been trying to move past the brainy part of this fascination, into the less comfortable and more courageous heart of the matter. Would I be so fascinated with fungi if they were not so foreign to me, so forgotten?

If indeed a reconnection with the wisdom of nature is appealing, what if it were more than a read-in-a-book reconnection, one where I know what’s blooming and where the bears have been and when the sun will rise not because I’ve taken notes, but because I am so close to it all that I can’t not know it? How would that kind of knowing influence the rest of my life?

People and organizations that work on these deeper levels of reconnection make me terrifically uncomfortable, in the best and most provocative way, and that’s precisely why I’m trying to spend more time with them.*

Dear Honeybees, if something has piqued your interest, I hope that you dive way down into the roots, through the mind and into the spirit, to find all that there is to learn. Chances are, there are more wonders to be found in that tangled underground rooted space than we could ever imagine.


 * One of these groups, TreeSisters, will be visiting in Boston this week – if you’d like to join me for a reception with them on July 13, please say the word. I would love to see you there!



Sunday Best – June 25, 2017


My sister recently told me about a poetry contest called the Floral Games, which was referenced in a commencement address by poet Billy Collins (alas, no relation, though I would take my brother, father, and grandfather — Williams all — over any other Billy Collins around).

I finally had the chance to do a tiny bit more research on the Floral Games today. Turns out they have a long history, going back to the 1300’s  (at least according to Wikipedia… like I said, a tiny bit of research).

The more modern form of the Floral Games, held in the Basque region during the mid-1800’s, offered three main prizes. The prize for the most patriotic poem was a sweet briar made of gold, and for the best religious poem a silver violet was awarded.

But the highest honor of all, for the greatest love poem, was an actual rose.

Isn’t that just lovely?

Sunday Best – June 18, 2017

Island or Archipelago?

I was lucky to attend the terrific On Cue gathering in Boston this week, where poet Regie Gibson put forth the image of an archipelago — islands that appear to be separate, but that are really all connected, just below the surface.

It’s not a brand-new notion, but it is a powerful one. Here is John Donne’s version:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main…any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

And here is Pitbull’s version:

When the going gets tough
the tough get going
One love, one life, one world
One fight, whole world, one night, one place

Sometimes each of us feels like an island. Sometimes we even wish for it, longing for independence and solitude.

But even at our most individual, we are an archipelago!

Sunday Best – June 11, 2017

Dear Honeybees,

Today I saw my first butterfly of the season, a black swallowtail who’d arrived a little later than usual. One glimpse out of the corner of my eye and I was filled with springy glee.

Of course, the outer dazzle of that first flutter is just the beginning. You probably learned about metamorphosis in school, and you might have read some of the endless children’s books on the same topic. The way that the caterpillar’s own enzymes turn it into a big melted mess inside the cocoon surely is 100% science plus 100% miracle…. and that’s not even the best part!

The best part is, the imaginal discs – the bundles of cells that develop into the butterfly – they are there all along. Sitting there, inside the caterpillar, as she hatches from her egg. Sitting there as she munches her way through the garden. Sitting there as she spins her cocoon. Just waiting for the right time to do their thing, to give this wormy hungry creature its wings.

So, dear Honeybees, the next time we are feeling like wormy hungry creatures, I hope we will call on our own imaginal cells. The ones that have been waiting all along, waiting for conditions to be right.

True, we might need to dissolve into goo first.

But then we get to fly.


   * I’ve been meaning to understand more about butterfly metamorphosis ever since I heard the inspiring Elisabet Sahtouris describe the process at a gathering hosted by the equally-amazing Hazel Henderson several years ago, and this interest was rekindled when I read Gaia Codex by Sarah Drew early this year.  All three of these women are winged creatures in their own right, and it is well worth spending time with their creations.

   *  You can read more about metamorphosis in this Scientific American article, and there are some terrific 3-D CT images in this National Geographic piece.

   *  photo from Wikimedia Commons, credit Treffert/Carter 2013.

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