I took the liberty of making some transparent edits for the sake of attempting relevancy, for marigolds still act in this way on me. They are a most potent gift and will soothe me to my dying day, this I know. Yet, even as I started into the third paragraph, I realized there is not the same relevancy – while my distaste for society’s way of ranking still holds on my tongue, my thought to it has dissipated altogether. I know I am no one to society because this society does not know how to value the power of the spirit that animates this body and I have no concern to that idea, can’t even notice the “burn in my pocket.” I will be and do as I am and the natural world will see to the order of things.
You see, I had just quit my job
last week, so I have time to notice these things. I have time to notice fall’s patient arrival and hear my grandmother remind me, “Marigolds are good for keeping the bees away.”
I like to notice these things when I can, before I have to notice the smell of the burn in my pocket, before society steps up to remind me that once that buck in my pocket is gone, I’m nobody. And not even a buck is enough to make you someone on public transit. Government-funded, so it makes sense.
Of course, you don’t know these things as a 5-year-old playing in your grandmother’s garden, sniffing marigolds and tugging tomato vines by day and dancing in rhythm to the lightning bugs’ silent light symphony at dusk. And of course, you don’t realize how ominous is your own action of trapping a lightning bug in a jar when you’re five years old. You provide leaves for food and holes for air, but the lightning bug knows that he has lost his most precious item – freedom to fly – and, in a matter of days, in spite of all good care, he’ll be dead.
I’m allergic to bees. Yet I find that my fear is less impervious to these winged beasts than to other bugs, those that cannot harm me. So, I grow bamboo instead.
I have to wonder, does the butterfly sigh? Perhaps, if I can close up this lithium powered laptop for a moment and shut up the digital hum around me, I can hear her. Yet there’s the buzzing of a phone in my pocket, the new kind of honey bee, smart and 4G, a money maker’s symbol.
I think I’d prefer the risk of the natural buzzer.
-Originally written October 2009