Saturday, April 19, 2008

It was late on Thursday when I drove down the Fifteenth toward Del Rio. I hadn’t made that drive in a while, but I was making sweet bean jam and I needed to get honey from my local beekeeper. I was enjoying a splurge of driving. Driving is a real treat for me now with gas prices being as high as they are. It’s better and more luxurious than going to the movies—something I almost never do anymore without feeling dreadfully guilty.

My beekeeper lives about eight miles down the one lane, gravel and tarmac road. This is the road where the Christy mission is located. When I first moved here, it was all gravel and you really needed a jeep on all but the finest of days. That road made me fall in love with this area.

I drove into the beekeepers yard, which is immaculate in ways my yard never is. It is a commentary somehow on the orderly life a beekeeper must surely lead. His hives stand in rows and the bees lazily swarm around the tops of them. It is late afternoon, around seven o’clock and that light—you know—that honey colored light is flooding my vision, making everything beautiful and fragrant.

The beekeeper and his wife are not there. For some reason, his wife is always taking a shower when I’ve arrived in the past. It doesn’t matter what time of day—her hair is always done up in a towel. But they aren’t here right now.

No matter. The card table is set out in the carport with quarts and pints of honey, a cash box, ledger and a calculator. They do that here, just as the doors are often unlocked to the houses. This is a place of contradictions. They are the most trusting people in the world, while being the most suspicious of outsiders.

I leave my name and my money and take three quarts of the thick raw amber liquid. It tastes of mountains and flowers I will never be able to climb to. Secret flowers only the bees know. It is my second favorite honey—my absolute favorite being tupelo. I leave a paper bag with some bars of soap I made with this same honey and the wax from these bees.

I stand on his carport and breath in the air, scented with honey and bees and flowers. In the distance, I hear the cries of coyotes and answering yips of foxes. They are frisky somewhere out in those woods, playing. I wonder what it must be like to enjoy the love of coyotes and foxes. I think of them out there in those secret places only the bees know, nipping each other’s ears in lust and showing their bellies. What a wild sort of joy that must be. The dreadful love of coyote and fox.

8 Comments:

  1. Mike Golch said...
    You are making wish I could be there instead of the city.
    threecollie said...
    Oh, your words, your words...I can see and feel and smell the bees, the honey, the foxes...I simply love your writing. Thank you.
    Maridmitch said...
    I've been to the beekeeper's house on Old Fifteenth. They are fine, hospitable people and operate their business on the honor system. Their honey is delicious! This modus operandi is prevalent throughout the Midwest as well.

    A beautifully written column, Rosie!

    We leave Wednesday for Bozeman, MT, to visit our daughter. Gas was $3.50 a gallon yesterday. It will be more expensive in the Great Plains. It may cost us $88-100 to fill our tank. Holy smokes!
    Andie said...
    Hello. I stumbled across your blog quite by accident a couple weeks ago and have been reading through the archives ever since. I really enjoy it!
    I just started a blog of my own but have had trouble keeping it updated =) Anyways I wanted to add your blog to my page under a blog role but am unsure how to do it (sheepish grin). Any chance you would give me some instructions on how to do that?
    Andie
    Andie said...
    (bigger sheepish grin) i figured out how to do it after i left the comment!
    Gypsy said...
    I can almost taste that honey. You have to tell more about the jam you were making. I have never heard of it!
    Rosie said...
    Sweet bean jam (anko) is a freezer/refrigerator jam made with sweetened beans--usually azuki. It is served in ice cream, shaved ice or with fruit with a topping like honey or as a filling in pastry or confections. It's a bit of an acquired taste for the western palate. I also do a white version with lima beans, vanilla and white chocolate. I'm sort of addicted to the stuff.
    Mallow said...
    Oh I'd love to visit that beekeeper's place it sounds wonderful!

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