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Outside my study window, a robin alighted upon the still wintry appearance of a branch, caught by April’s tag with the sun, then was gone. Unlike signs of other leafing shrubs, this one feels shivery with indecision, its scraggy impression resembling a cluttered attic. Yet, upon closer inspection, a few small slender buds point toward the sky; the color, still to come.

The experience reminds me of Isaiah’s prophecy:

Behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth;
Shall you not know it?

Intended for exiled Israelites under the Babylonians, soon to be freed in 539 BCE, the text still carries fresh power. The new thing fires the imagination and excites creativity, looks beyond the humdrum, and inhales vistas yet to be explored. But the even greater challenge is to recognize the new thing when it comes.

Memories of missed invitations rankle, with their failure of nerve, too absorbed in my psyche to take the necessary actions. In preferring my will, I scraped depression’s depths rather than internalize the gift proffered. And only within the gentle discipline of AA, years later, did I begin to watch for the telltale signs of new growth.

About that same time, the season of spring began to remind me of Creator God and His color-making power in ever-expanding universes—even now, in this eighty-six-year-old cypher.

Soon, the robin’s perch in the summer snowflake viburnum will assume the shape of a lacy gown—the seventh year of its flowering outside my study window. I give thanks, with gusto.

At 3 A.M., I woke with this consoling dream:

It’s early spring, moist, fresh greening everywhere. I’m healthy, tanned, and stand tall, soft winds teasing my short white hair. I decide to shop for a new outfit to honor the season and step inside a Women’s Boutique. Inside, most of the clothing is made of the same wide striped light green and white fabric, billowy in texture. I’m thrilled. The barrette on the matching hat also draws customers’ interest. I’m delighted by my selection of the dress and hat.

Another glimpse into my psyche shows more healing of my femininity, one that is pure gift from Higher Power, despite periodic episodes of grief.

My reread of The Secret Lives of Bees (2002) disclosed the healing power of the Sacred Feminine. Its author Sue Monk Kidd displayed unusual artistry in fashioning this riveting story, its worldwide appeal galvanizing hearts.

Secrets abound, not only within the darkness of the beehives, but also within the inner worlds of the characters, given to dreams, musings, writing, and spirited imaginations. Multi-layered symbols also abound—orphan, mother, bees, death—their auras intermingling with shuddery feelings, with breathlessness. The ensuing images, enfleshed in precise words, fired the imagination of this reader.

Note: Above each chapter, headings of honeybee behaviors mirrored the story as it unfolded.

Enter the droll narrator, fourteen-year-old Lily Owens, with black hair that flies in many directions, living on a peach farm with her widower father in a bigoted South Carolina town. It was summer, 1964, hot with racism. Attuned to hunches, Lily sought resolution of her secret and found her way to a bee-keeping farm in the next town.

There, Lily met the Boatwright sisters whose large-bosomed blackness mothered her through grief. Their eclectic devotions to Our Lady of Chains, the ancient figurehead from a ship’s mast honored in their living room, also opened Lily to the Sacred Feminine “… hidden everywhere. Her heart a red cup of fierceness tucked among ordinary things.” From her, Lily drew courage, “not just to love, but to persist in love” for her orphaned psyche and those around her.

The Secret Lives of Bees continues enriching imaginations with Eros, sorely needed today, to heal poisonous fissures sickening planet Earth as well as those in our own hearts. We but need to ask, humbly…

Available on Amazon

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