Bee orchestra in the cherry tree.

You can't see the bees, but trust me, the little suckers are there!

There's a bee orchestra in the cherry tree. Bees descend in a buzzing cloud in the earliest morning, when the sky is still gray pearl and the nectar has risen to a peak in the Surinam cherry blossoms on the tree in our backyard. The tree is graceful as a twisted silvery candelabra holding aloft arms swathed in tiny, pure white flowers. Petals spiral down onto me occasionally as I sit, enveloped in intense fragrance, sweet and thick as olfactory honey.

The sound of the bees is a sort of tuning fork, a vibration that my ears translate to humming song. As I look up into the branches, black against the morning-bloomed sky, I can see the individual bees, speedy and intent, silhouettes of industry.

I’m sitting in the Reject Rocker, one of Mike’s discarded projects—a Windsor style in curly mango that refused to cooperate and ended up listing ever so slightly in various directions. It’s unbelievably comfortable, though, and holds me in supportive arms as I soak in the surfeit of sensory input—scent, sound, sight, and now feeling, as a drift of petals and pistils land across my writing hands on my lap, magical filaments shaken loose by the movement of a million beating wings and tiny busy gathering legs.

You’d think all these were signs of spring—but this is Hawaii, and every year this tree gives up its leaves and bursts into a flagrant crescendo of blossoms in December. It’s an amazing experience, and it happens every year in my very own disheveled and cozy back yard.

This is the first time in twelve years of living here I’ve really taken time to experience the bee orchestra in the cherry tree. I’m entering a minimalistic phase in my life. All I want to do is write, work, and be in positive relationship with others and nature, at peace with God in the midst of a simple life—yet it comes at a time when the world has become ever more complex and connected.

Are these things incompatible? I wonder, and experiment with slowing down and experiencing a bee orchestra–even as we ramp up for the chaos that has become Christmas.

What about you? What phase are you in?

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