Friday, October 10, 2008

The Bride of Space...

A week must elapse from the day of her birth before she will quit the hive; she will then perform her first "cleansing flight," and absorb the air into her trachae, which, filling, expand her body, and proclaim her the bride of space. Thereupon she returns to the hive, and waits yet one week more; and then, with her sisters born the same day as herself, she will for the first time set forth to visit the flowers. A special emotion now will lay hold of her; one that French apiarists term "soleil d'artifice," but which might more rightly perhaps be called the "sun of disquiet." For it is evident that the bees are afraid, that these daughters of the crowd, of secluded darkness, shrink from the vault of blue, from the infinite loneliness of the light; and their joy is halting, and woven of terror. They cross the threshold and pause; they depart, they return, twenty times. They hover aloft in the air, their head persistently turned to the home; they describe great soaring circles that suddenly sink beneath the weight of regret; and their thirteen thousand eyes will question, reflect, and retain the trees and the fountain, the gate and the walls, the neighboring windows and houses, till at last the aerial course whereon their return shall glide have become as indelibly stamped in their memory as though it were marked in space by two lines of steel.

~ Maurice Maeterlinck, The Life of the Bee, 1901