A magical thing happened in the studio yesterday. And it had nothing to do with paint.
I was just wetting the crease of a folded piece of watercolor paper in preparation for tearing it in half, when I glanced down and saw something crawling across the studio floor. At first I thought it was a humongous spider, but on closer inspection, it turned out to be…
A honeybee, I think. Of all the odd things to show up in January, in the middle of a big old building in the U.P. of Michgan.
I stooped down and set my finger down in front of her. She climbed on readily.
Up close, I could see each joint of her six legs, shiny black like her oval eyes. Two sets of transparent wings jutted sleekly from her fuzzy thorax. Her segmented abdomen throbbed rhythmically as she paused, tasting my skin, then ceased as she continued her slow march along my finger. She looked weary, emaciated.
I suddenly needed reassurance that I could get her off if need be, so I placed the bristle end of my Chinese brush in her path. It was still wet. I thought she might not like that, but she climbed on obligingly. Then, delicately, she lowered her proboscis to the wet bristles and began to drink.
Who knows how long it had been since she had had water? She drank and drank, and I began to wonder if she might be hungry, too. I carried her slowly to the kitchen, fetched a chopstick from the drawer and extracted a drop of honey from the jar on the shelf. Yes, she was hungry. She ate purposefully.
While she ate and drank, I tried to capture her image. My phone camera rebelled against focusing on such a small object, but alas, the other camera’s battery was dead. I shifted the brush to my left hand and drew a series of quick sketches from multiple angles.
As I drew, I realized that this bee brought the answer to a question I had recently sent out to the universe. In fact, she was the answer!
I am working on the idea of creating a series of seven power animal paintings, one for each of the seven major chakras, or body/mind energy centers. The animals for some of the chakras came to me right away. Others are taking their sweet time to show themselves. Not surprisingly, I’d been struggling with finding an animal to represent the third chakra, the Power Center. This is an area I’ve definitely had issues with for a long time – lifetimes – and which I’ve recently started working on unblocking. In fact, that very morning I had spent 40 minutes in a power center-clearing exercise before getting to work…
As I drew my little friend, I suddenly realized – of course! – that the bee’s yellow color, her confidence and her disciplined devotion to purpose are all perfectly suited to represent 3rd chakra energy. She had come to volunteer as the Power Center animal for my painting. 🙂
When the bee had had her fill she retreated to the end of the bristles and washed her face and legs. Wanting to get back to my task, I set her, brush and all, amongst the leaves of my plant.
A single bee in the middle of winter is not likely to live long. I figured she would probably never fly again, but she might enjoy feeling living leaves under her little feet.
I finished halving the sheet, but instead of starting the painting I’m planning to use it for, I was drawn again to check on the bee. I watched her struggle up a slippery leaf. She slipped back, regained her footing, then slipped again, tumbling to the windowsill below.
Once again, I placed my finger in front of her and she climbed on. She stayed there a while, gathering her strength…
Then, in a moment, she launched into flight.
My bee circled once about my head, then, suddenly, she was gone. But what a gift she had brought!
And I wonder…how many other spirit messengers have come into my life, and I never knew it, because I didn’t take the time to listen?