Our last post ended with me leaving the newly combined Rose Hive Tower to “sort things out.” I stepped out of the bee yard, stripping off gloves, veil, bee jacket, and heavy shoes as I made my way to the back door. Normally, I don’t “suit up” as extensively—or at all—but I had expected to be tinkering around in Rose and Freyja pretty extensively and sometimes the gear comes in handy. Handy, yes, but bee gear is an extra layer of heat on a warm day. This day, I finished my tasks in a drenching flood of sweat. Yanking off the jacket and hat was—literally—a breath of fresh air.
Actually, though, I love putting on my bee gear as much as I like pulling it off. I’ve put on sacramental robes before to assist in church services, and at Sundance when I dressed each morning in my sage wreaths and shawl. There is a joy to stepping into the traditional garb of sacred realms, and I’ve come to view donning my bee gear in the same manner. But sometimes I don’t follow through with ritual in the ditching of the garb. On a hot day, I tear it off as fast as my hands will work. I think I made it from the bee yard to the shower in a minute flat.
After my shower, I hurried back to the bee yard to check on the progress. My concerns about a possible bee battle melted the instant I saw the hive. Bees clustered as usual on the entrance landing to the Rose Hive. Maybe the cluster was a bit larger than usual, but not by so much. The air around the hive was no longer a buzzing amber cloud. Yes, hundreds of bees were coming and going to and from the hive, but with the focused purpose the Rose Hive exhibited daily. There were no battles at the door, bee-on-bee. There were no bees milling frantically where the two hives had formerly stood. All was in order.
And that was what I noticed the most: The calm, the order. It was as though these three hives had desired to be One for weeks. The addition of the fresh comb to Rose Hive seemed to take the energy in the apiary from charging to dancing. The hives had morphed into a new body, a new form, and it was all good.
But the Goddess of Morph was by no means finished with me. At the bucket pond, Legs awaited me with a surprise that would catch my breath in my throat on that very auspicious day.
Legs, as you may remember, is the bullfrog tadpole who has been slowly morphing since I brought him home as a small tadpole last summer. Back then, his body was about the size of a small grape. He grew steadily and headed into winter with a body grown to the size of an egg yolk. He hibernated in our bucket pond, and appeared in late spring with two tiny back legs. Always secretive, he vanished from view when the duckweed covered the entire top of the pond by early June. I did not see him again until mid-July. He looked about the same, then, and I figured he’d overwinter again before morphing into His Frogness.
Then, on the 10th of August, I posted a FaceBook picture of Legs with small front legs! Whoo-hoo! It was quite an event after such a long stint of relative non-change. Legs began “sitting” on all fours in the shallow portion of the pond, allowing his flat head to break the surface of the water. I likened it to us putting our toe in to test the water temperature. Legs was doing the same, but opposite: He was poking his forehead out to test an entirely new element: Air.
Still, he still looked pretty much like an egg yolk with legs and a long tail. But on the day that I merged my hives, Legs had undergone an over-night transformation. When I went to the pond that afternoon to check on my leggy tadpole, there sat…a frog! You can see by the photo that the change was quite dramatic. Especially the eyes—the windows to the soul. Even the frog soul.
In a matter of a few magical hours, his flat, dark pollywog eyes had turned gold and popped out like two, glistening planets. In his wog stage, I had looked deep into his face with a magnifying glass and sensed a creature almost entirely closed off from me. But in his frog eyes was an expression of wonder and openness I had not seen before. He sat upright in the gravel, breathing air, suddenly a creature who could live between realms, as comfortable in water as in air.
I grinned and laughed and did a quick happy dance at the side of the bucket pond. Then I hurried over to the worm compost bin and collected a small handful of wiggling soldier fly maggots and dumped them next to Legs, who would now be eating protein instead of pond plants. So many changes, so quickly, and so utterly.
Between the bees and Legs, my thoughts were spiraling high and free. Transformation and morphing: What power! What risk! What possibility! Trust Nature to bring me a dramatic enactment of the energetic twists and turns that had been engulfing my heart and spirit the past couple of weeks.
It seems that whenever I am in the midst of something important, Nature will mimic me, teaching me what I most need to know, or showing me the changes I am making in a form I can absorb—like medicine. Or perhaps when I am struggling with something, I am more able to see its metaphor made manifest in Nature because I am sensitized to it. Like how you see nothing but Volkswagens on the road when you have just bought one.
You see, I, too, have been morphing, only I did not realize it was happening to me until my frog eyes suddenly popped up. Then all of a sudden, I was seeing the world and myself with new vision. New eyes had come upon me. Overnight, unexpectedly.
I won’t go into the details here, because I want this to remain universal in its application. So I will put it this way. Have you ever struggled with something that made your body feel tense and anxious all over? That chased away your sleep and replaced it with jitters and heavy sighs? Have you ever struggled with something for so long you ceased to realize you were even struggling because the anxiety began to feel like part of your normal state of being?
Over time, have you prayed about this struggle, perhaps? Prayed for understanding, or change, or reconciliation, or acceptance, or peace? Or meditated on it and wondered where the agitation ever started or why you were the way you were? Have you ever felt the need to explain yourself to other people, to justify what you felt (deep inside but never admitted to yourself) was simply your right to just be alive?
Have you ever given up hope that the struggle might be resolved, and simply devoted your energy to trying to cope with it in as least self-destructive ways as possible?
Then, one evening, when the struggle was particularly acute and the agitation roiling in your gut and setting your hands to shaking, did something happen? Something uncomplicated. Simple. Like a friend on the phone saying, “Why do you feel the need to justify yourself? Why don’t you just take a deep breathe and say ‘blah.'” Well, she didn’t say, “say blah.” She said a few words more, but only a few. Maybe just seventeen or so.
Then, did the something simple that happened to you settle deeply into some dark crevice in your psyche, and near-instantly heal it?
If this has not happened to you, I pray that it will, and soon. If this has not happened to you, I urge you to take heart and hope by the fact that it happened to me, that it can and will happen to you.
Overnight, as with the bees, something was combined within me without struggle. The result was a me that was suddenly a bit larger and more integrated. Overnight, I saw myself and those close to me—family and friends—with new, golden eyes. It was as though I had been struggling to see through murky water, and could now see through the clarity of fresh air. Everyone looked different. Larger. More complex. More precious. Myself included. My inner apiary became calm and centered.
To friends, I alluded to the bees and to Legs, using them as exquisite metaphors for a process I could ill put into words. They became my words.
Since last week, I have been reminded of the risk of transformation, of morphing from one form into another. Since the day I took the photo here of Legs in his frogness, I had not seen hide nor hair of him, nor tail nor toe nor anything else. The very last image I saw of him was him leaping like Barishnikov across the length of the pond to escape my looming face. I thought at that moment, “Wow, if he leaps out of the pond with his tail still intact, he could be in big trouble.” It seems that I conjured up calamity. Beware your words.
I had put off writing this post because I could not see how to end it with Legs’ disappearance. It just was not coming together in a way that felt whole. But last night, as I took Mazel out to pee for the last time, I stopped by the small fountain pond where the bees water, just to watch them carve lazy patterns in the air above the singing water. I put my face close to a amber bee, lapping up water on the edge of the fountain’s second tier. And there he was. Just like that. In the pond portion of the fountain, below the bee. Legs looked up at me with his golden eyes. He was hidden in the last of this year’s duckweed, hoping for a bee to drop his way.
Legs had indeed catapulted from the 100-gallon trough pond to the wooden deck below, tail still flying out behind him, no doubt. And he’d hopped on new, springy legs over to the much shallower fountain pond and set up residence. The thought leaped into my mind, “Yes, the risk of the morph is worth it. Always.” And I knew I would write this post today.