I saw the bee in the early morning. It was still as the chill air. I thought perhaps it had died sometime during the hours of the cold night. I didn’t disturb it, though I did give it my thanks for all the work it had done during the summer. I wasn’t sure, at the time, if it was a bumble bee or carpenter bee*. After blessing it and inviting its kind back for next year’s season, I stroked it softly then went about my day.
Every now and then I checked to see if it were still clinging to the flower stem. It held firm through one day then the next. On the third day it was gone. The days had once again grown warm — the last hurrah of warmth before the winter set in.
When the cold returned I saw the bumble bee half buried in the mulch of one of my pots. I hoped it had enjoyed its extra days of life. I wondered if it’s newly departed soul spark anticipated the warm days when it would be reborn.
Did its soul spark go to the same Crossroad of Souls as other born creatures? Or, was there was another place where the soul sparks of buzzing insects went between the seasons? Perhaps somewhere closer at hand? I smiled as I envisioned a theatrical setting where such a thing might take place.
That afternoon, when I sat down at my Creation Book, I drew a version of my earlier musing. It was a flight of fancy. I knew I was conjuring a fantasy as much as any set designer would create a fabricated realm for the stage.
My drawing materialized in the corner of my star wagon, in a dark corner that needed a bit of brightening as the shorter days took hold. My floral set piece glowed softly as if every vibrant flower was lit from within. As a special touch, I placed a clockwork bee on one of the sturdy stems. I wondered if the bumble bee’s soul spark would visit and bring life to its mechanical form—even if for an afternoon.
The days passed. After a couple of weeks, directly after leaf fall day, I awoke to find a bumble bee perched on my favorite mug. It let me stroke its back briefly before it alighted and flew off. I poured my tea. I didn’t need any honey for the bee’s visit had already made my morning sweet.
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures
*When I looked up the difference between bumble bees and carpenter bees (my sister Poppy always seemed to know the difference instinctively), I learned that bumble bees were basically fuzzy, social creatures who lived in the ground while carpenter bees were shiny, mostly solitary creatures that liked to put holes in my star wagon. Nevertheless, I always welcomed them both just the same.