In the winter, or is it yet fall, the Advent sun takes a different
course through the sky framed in my bedroom window, lower,
above the roof across the street. It barely skims over the top
of the house, now only peeks through the large center window
of the bay, unlike summer’s fiery ball shooting up from
the horizon, quickly reaching far above the top port window
by noon. I skim the last of the clover honey from the jar, squeezing
the honeycomb for it’s final syrupy kiss of summer.
My grandfather tended bees, an odd hobby for a city man.
I watched from the fence of Farmer Granjean’s parcel lent to
my grandpa without need for recompense, knowing the
importance of bees. What was giving up an old donkey barn
for shade, a cottonwood for rest, and a few hundred square feet
in exchange for pollination? Mr. Granjean’s horse, Honey,
I don’t know if that was the horse’s real name or just mine for her,
waited for my weekly stop in the car bumping down the dirt path
to the hives with my father or mother behind the steering wheel
of the 56 Chevy Nomad, my grandpa garbed in overalls, and me
with a sugar cube in my sweaty hand starting to glisten with
sweetness. A fond memory for this winter’s noon meal,
or is it still fall? Like honey the world slows in the cold
and the snow. The early dark brings a quiet, not invited but
needed. Out the kitchen window I see the last of the summer
blooms now stalks wilted and ocher blanketed in snow,
perennials taking a nap deep beneath the rich soil so tenderly
worked and fed and watered in times past. Now is the time
for rest, not necessarily invited, but needed this winter’s noon,
how can it still be fall?
I am privileged to attend a small Catholic church located in a storefront in a strip mall in Aurora, Colorado that is occasionally marked by gang graffiti and is not far from the movie theatre that brought unwanted fame to this city a while back.
We are not Roman Catholics at the Church of the Holy Family, but belong to the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. It is a loving congregation. And our pastor, Fr. Scott Jenkins, loves baseball, probably because he holds the major league ERA title for his homilies.
At our monthly Celtic Mass tonight, Fr. Scott, wove a beautiful Advent homily about uninvited guests – winter as part of nature’s cycle from the 1st reading in Isaiah 11:1-10 and John the Baptist from Matthew 3:1-12.
My poem for this second week in Advent takes up Fr. Scott’s invitation to welcome both of the uninvited guests into my life. Slowing down with winter to recognize and become a part of nature’s cycle and eating honey like John the Baptist.
Okay, so there was a little more to the John the Baptist part, but the memory of my grandfather’s bees warmed my soul in our below zero weather tonight.
You can read my poem for the first Sunday in Advent here: