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The Energy of Late Autumn

Earlier, the wild asters surrounding my garden chair — three, four feet tall — billowed in romantic clouds of little flowers, from white to medium blue-purple. In late fall, when they’re past their peak, one day I sit there. I give myself permission to just sit. Not do anything, just enjoy being there. I don’t do enough of that.

The slanted Adirondack chair comforts my tired back. The cool air feels good going down my windpipe. My hat shades my head, but the sun warms my shoulders.

Many aster flowers are are faded, withered or gray. Some stems hang low, dipping toward the ground. But I still feel blessed by the presence they create, by a sense of magic. No longer the magic of romantic prettiness, but clearly still the magic of vitality. The plants are doing their thing: the leaves shining in the sunlight they drink in, storing energy in the roots for the winter coming so soon; the flowers making seeds. And bees! Hundreds of them, flitting around in complex dances that seem to counterpoint the energy of the plants sparkling in the sun.

For a moment I flash on the scene as the vast architecture of a miniature city, with the flying citizens bustling around on important business. How do they keep from colliding in midair? I feel honored to sit here in the middle, watching all this happening.

A bee alights on my sleeve. Its antennae perk back and forth, and it lifts its forelegs, investigating my shirt. “There’s nothing here for you,” I tell it, as I usually do if they get closer than I like, to encourage them to move on. But this one is still curious.

For a minute I am, too: I don’t often get close enough to appreciate the delicate fuzz on a bee’s back, the glitter of its faceted wings. Eventually, however, fear comes up, slowing my mind. Still I know it’s important not to get hooked by it, so that my pheromones alarm the bee.

I talk gently to the bee, telling it other thoughts ... and then saying “This is my space, and I’d appreciate it, if you would move on.” It does. I breathe a sigh of relief, close my eyes, and go back to absorbing the warmth of the sun.

Another bee comes close enough to my face that the buzz is loud. This time, without thinking, I open my eyes and simply blow it away.

© Copyright 2004 Catherine Holmes Clark

Published in the six Nashoba Publications papers on Friday, 29 October 2004

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