May is motherhood memoir month

Embracing Chaos

“One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star.” -Nietzsche

There’s nothing like a swarm of bees to remind you of the joys of embracing chaos. Today the bees (from yesterday’s swarm, see post) are happily building a cozy comb while the rain pelts the outside of their log hive and we are all pressing on with our work.

I’m finally getting comfortable with the chaos of life, the pandemic, and writing, all swirled together.

I’ve spent much of life pushing chaos toward order; who doesn’t love order more than chaos? But I’m learning to appreciate chaos as inevitable, and a good sign when it comes to creativity. I’m finding inspiration in the bees.

When bees swarm it looks chaotic and makes people nervous. But if they’ve learned about bees they know it is the least dangerous time, after the bees have gorged themselves on honey and flown up toward the queen, expending their energy and reducing their ability and desire to sting. It is the ideal time to collect and re-hive the sated bees. They are already in search of a new home.

The bee swarm we brought home yesterday had attached itself to a cement curb on a busy street near the Moose Lodge parking lot. We brought them home to a forest, with a hollowed-out tree to keep them safe and warm, a gentle stream nearby to quench their thirst. Picture them seeing inside their new hive for the first time. I picture their excitement, akin to being given keys to a partially furnished mansion. The log hive is complete with bits of comb and honey from the last inhabitants, like a well-stocked AirBnB. Bees like to be where bees have been.

It rained last night and much of today. Bees don’t fly in the rain so we got them inside their new home just in time. They got busy right away and have already started building comb for their queen to lay eggs.

And meanwhile, I’m back to writing, my favorite activity on a rainy day, running out for a walk when there’s a break in the rain, and looking down on the bees, quiet in their new home. Lots of ideas flowing, not all in the order I’d like, but exciting and useful to the story I’m writing. I’m spurred on by a renewed sense of energy, perhaps a result of the bees flurry.

photo by Matthew T. Rader- Unsplash

Writing, in the early stages looks chaotic, a free flow of ideas and characters forming and developing.

A swarm looks chaotic, but it leads to the order of perfectly formed hexagonal honey comb. Bees, in their wisdom, choose the hexagon as the design that holds the most honey. *

In writing, order can come later, after we discover what the story really is, what is at the heart of our writing.

Embrace chaos, knowing there will be time for order later.

Follow the honeycomb, and happy writing.


Apiological: mathematical speculations about bees (Part 1: Honeycomb geometry)

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