Bees on the Breeze
(By Julie T)
Silent are feathered wings in flight, for an owl has been hunting through this night.
To land on lofty pine tree perch, weary of his nocturnal search.
This pine that has withstood the test of time. Battles fought and branches lost.
Oozing gum like tears in this pine tree. Hear it creak and groan, as if to shake the burden of night, or those incessant magpies carolling in its canopy as they herald the sun that stretches light upon this lime green land.
Magpies, with beaks full of song, of days gone by and yet to come, with flapping wings have flown to far off trees of oak and gum.
Our own eyes gaze upon cattle that graze there chewing their cud of time.
Of this day, not a worry have they; for it is like every other they have known.
And sheep – you could suddenly hear one bleat! A little lamb lost and then found, bleats in joy’s desperation.
And its mother, with a nudge and a sigh, replies “don’t you do that again.”
And here there grows a crackling with many seeds gorse hedge.
From bright yellow flower I see something flitter to bright yellow flower on a prickly gorse hedge.
It’s not just a bug, it’s “Swizzle” the honey bee, and she is a friend to me.
With transparent wings tucked neatly by her side, upon fury stripes of a team worn with pride.
Those leg pockets, they are bulging with all that pollen she did pluck from that daisy chain and all those butter cups.
Now with many bees knees bent, she’s off in a hurry – as if in a flurry!
Riding these early morning breezes that blow the growing seeds on the endless seas of ebb and flow.
Then with angled wings she’s flying low through clouds of fog grass. Fleeting past praying mantis eyes that pray for rain under sunny skies.
Then up and over the painted clover, narrowly avoiding those silken webs that hang from the thistle heads that sneeze their seeds upon this breeze, that blows the bugs, that are but reflections in a swallow’s eye.
A flapping of wings and that bird flies by with a beak full of dragonfly.
With swift and twisted motion that bird is gone in just a notion.
Now homeward this honey bee is bound, with its wings flapping above the ground.
Homeward to her hive.
No windows has her wooden fortress, but a single door where many wings are gathering – for take off or for landing.
Now antennae wiggle a welcome at the entrance to this hive, where the shadows paint the darkness with its wax covered frames that are the kitchens of this hive.
This is where our swizzle climbs.
Now with that ever so sweet nectar of gorse and nodding thistle that dribble from her tongue, she moves through the darkness.
It’s a river of sound. It’s the buzzing of voices and their conversations so loud!
So without a word, for she’d never be heard, Swizzle starts tapping those feet to a different beat.
The dizzy dizzy dance of the gorse flower sweet. She jiggles and swirls, then wiggles and twirls. Now that is the dizzy dizzy dance of the gorse flower sweet.
Now weary as a honey bee can be, Swizzle is in search of her queen. A queen she is so large, yet unseen, for she is a laying machine.
She lays eggs of countless bees, that sprout their wings to some day fly, out of this darkness and into the sky.
Now our Swizzle goes through this darkness, through this bumbling crowd.
Through the pushing, the shoving and speaking aloud.
For downward she climbs through the honeycomb shadows. She moves towards that open door and out of this hive once more.
For this is not just a bug!
She’s Swizzle the honeybee and she is a friend to me.
And whom you ask, am I?
For I am a white knight to a honeybee colony. White as these overalls I wear.
I’m veiled in secrecy, for I’m the humble beekeeper to this colony.
A Twist in the Tail
(By Julie T)
Oh cry a seagull, as you glide upon a coastal breeze.
The sea of pastel blue-green furrows that roll like ringlets upon this shore. With fingers of foam rustling shingle and stone.
Oh seagull, in seconds of time you are flicked by the thrust of a fisherman’s line.
Feathers fly in twisted motion, as your entangled wings beat against the ocean.
This seagull’s rage with its snapping beak towards the shore. “My airspace, my airspace, you violate my airspace with your unseen thread like a spider’s web.”
Yet just as much yelling could be heard coming from the fisherman on the shore. “My line, my line, my silver lure! Oh you stupid, stupid seagull. Don’t you lose my tackle!”
As the man stood braced against the tide, clad in wading boots and wind jacket. And being so cross with himself for he had caught no fish all day – just yonder seagull. So he reeled in that bird – in like feathers in a washing machine that gull did roll through the surf and floundered over the wet shingle of the beach; ’til that gull came to rest above the high tide mark.
Shaking the sea foam from its head and somewhat tethered wings – he stares that fisherman square in the eye. With snapping beak it does cry, “you got me into this mess so get me out of it!”
Just then that fisherman did fall to his knees in those rubber wading boots.
Grabbing the gull with both hands he yelled “be still, be still with you”, as he clasped that bird tightly between his knees. From his wind jacket pocket he produced a hanky with which he began to tie the gull’s snapping beak.
Then proceeding with his trusty fishing knife he would cut through his tangled matted line. The fisherman is no hairdresser! For in finding his favourite silver fishing lure embedded in the feathers – what does he do? He cuts those feathers off to retrieve his lure.
Once he’s done he releases the hanky and sets the bird free. Except – now it’s a flightless bird.
Feeling its freedom the bird takes off at a very fast waddle across the beach flapping its wings like an albatross, and screeching as seabirds do. “I’m free, I’m free.”
Some distance down the beach the seagull feels safe enough to glance behind, only to catch a glimpse of that fisherman disappearing over the sand dunes.
It would be some time before this gull’s feathers grow back enough for him to fly again. So for now he had to be content with beach combing for the flotsam and jetsam that might be washed up on the shore.
He raised his beak and smelt the ocean breeze, for it was heavy with the scent of seaweed and a hint of crab. Clambering on to a pile of damp, yet reposed seaweed, the gull proceeded to preen what was left of his dignity.
Yet once in a while he would raise his eyes out to sea and for the want of his wings to fly. Yet he must return to his preening.
But something stirs deep within this seaweed on which the seagull stands. In amongst those twisting curls of seaweed, to the left of the rustling crab, in amongst all those sand hoppers, lies a fragile, yet gasping seahorse.
The seahorse feels the presence of the seagull above him. He directs his tail upward through these curls in the damp and dying seaweed.
“Deliverance” he thought, for the seahorse was, in our terms thumbing a ride home! Its tail wrapped around our seagull’s leg and the seahorse hung on for the promise of life itself.
Yet, still gasping, the seagull on the other hand freaked out!
For once more, he thought he was caught by an unseen thread like a spider’s web. With a flipping of wings and a snapping of beak, with a kicking of his webbed feet, this gull danced up a storm on the beach. Trying to dislodge this thing around his leg, in such a panic he never even thought to look at it.
The seagull thus tripping over himself, rolled beak over tail feathers, over wings into the breaking waves. Bobbing up through that surf to ride the ocean. Much to the seagull’s relief his leg was free. He thought to himself, I shall paddle down the coast to my colony, where I shall find good company.
As for the seahorse, he still roams the kelp forest deep in the ocean.