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The Beekeeper's Wife
Blog Posted:12/9/2013 12:21:00 PM
The Beekeeper’s Wife
Seated on a kitchen chair, straight backed, her potter’s hands wrap around a delicate flowered cup filled with swirling leaves chasing one another while her thoughts wander aimlessly.
She stares through the pane at a finely manicured lawn tumbling down the slope to the drop-off where the world once fell. On the table before her, the honey bowl drips carelessly, pooling onto a blue checkered table cloth without restraint.
She lifts her eyes to the tractor path winding lazily though the yard as it ambles toward the ravine where the bridge lies canted - broken by years of heavy labor - no longer able to support itself, or others. Beyond that crossing, the trail still bears scars from his footsteps, but no marks remain from the harsh weight of tilling implements used to work the soil many years ago.
Today the earth grows only a few wildflowers, straw grasses, and the yellow clover which birthed the escaping honey. The apiary lies in ruins, hiding its shame beyond the crumbled bridge where he stood waving at her, flashing his cheshire grin - long gray pony tail falling over his left shoulder as he tipped his head just like every other time, right before he stepped out of sight.
“Africanized,” he’d said…“no, he wouldn’t wear the bee suit - he’d gone thirty damn years
without a suit and there was no need to start wearing one now.”
He’d seldom worn a shirt, let alone protection. Instead, he bared his chest to the kiss of the taunting sun. Tanned and calloused years etched hard into every wrinkle - wrinkles he’d earned by endless days of endless digging - digging in the soil with hand tools, painstakingly shaping the retired farm into an Eden, and, tending his beloved hives.
She felt the hair on his chest with both hands and drank in the scent of him
as they made love on the velvet grass next to the stream...
Seated on a straight-backed kitchen chair, her shaking potter’s hands tremble the delicate flowered cup and tears splash onto her coarse, clay-spattered apron as she stares through her pain at the finely manicured lawn tumbling down the slope to the drop-off where her world fell.
“African bees,” the coroner had said. “No, he didn’t know how they got here,
but they were spreading fast and at least three others had died…