I saved a bee today from excruciating death in my coffee cup. To see it fly away made me feel so good my eyes watered up.
There it was floundering in that black bitter liquid on the verge of drowning, its wings so heavy with the sludge that it could not get away. I likened the scene to quicksand. I was so worried that I snapped at Nebra to hurry up with a spoon. She had dallied, thinking the bee was dead.
I spooned it out and set it down in the sunlight of the driveway table. The bee immediately set about with its legs to flick off the coffee from a drenched body. At first I thought a wing was missing. But soon the second wing popped into place. I began to feel optimistic and went off to continue planting the Dianthus.
“It just flew off,” Nebra said, describing two drops of coffee dropped by the bee on take-off.
I looked up. It hovered for a moment under the umbrella and flew away.
Nebra surmised the bee would have a whale of a story to tell when he got back to the hive.
My motives in the rescue were not pure. I’d read the stories about the Zombie bees, the declining population in the world of hives. I want the bee to survive in great numbers, to pollinate my gardens.
I used to feel bad about my softer feelings. I’d grown up in a tough small town in Kansas, and I often kept those feelings muted. But now I think the tender side of me may be the best side of me. I owe something to that bee for reminding me of that.