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  • Kelly Marks

What's the buzz about?

The Sound of Music is undoubtedly one of the best movies ever made and my mom’s very favorite. I don’t know how many times she’s seen it over the years, but it’s way up there.


And Julie Andrews? Well, let’s just say she was so adorable that for a few years I wanted to be a nun. I figured it had to be the best vocation out there. I mean, just look: she sang everything she needed to say.


There was one song she sang that I wasn’t fond of though. It started out well enough: raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. It was cute; I loved the way she listed her favorite things. I soon decided that, as it so happened, these were also my favorite things. But then the song turned dark: when the dog bites, when the bee stings. I figured then and there, this was definitely not my favorite song.


I was reminded of it yesterday. I was sitting on a low stool in the middle of the garden picking peas. I was enjoying the sunshine, the fresh air, and all the sounds of nature. Then I realized that all of those “delightful sounds” were bees buzzing around me. Swarming might be a better way to put it. The plants on all sides of me were blooming and what looked like hundreds of slow, pudgy bumblebees were surrounding me.


As I watched those stinging machines in flight, I wondered why I couldn’t just enjoy nature without all the bother. But then I started really watching the bees. They landed happily on the blooms, stayed for awhile, and then drunkenly flew off to the next flower. I realized the beauty of the flowers, the fruit of the vine, is impossible without the bees to help the process along.


It dawned on me that this is exactly what one of my favorite authors, Richard Rohr, talks about when he speaks about dualistic consciousness (or the way I understand it better: either/or thinking). We tend to look at everything as if it’s either good or bad. Black or white. Pretty or ugly. Smart or dumb. But that’s not the way it should be. The goal is seeing that things, people, and places are not good OR bad; they are good AND bad.


It’s so easy to think in terms of strictly right or completely wrong. It’s the natural way of human brains. It seems funny to me that as we age, our bodies grow and change, our skills and interests grow, our minds and intelligence levels grow, and yet, somehow we don’t seem to care or even notice really if our spiritual selves mature.


It might be easier if things were either/or, but life is complicated. Bad people usually have some good in them, and I know very well that good people also have some bad traits or qualities in them. An example of these complications is that I am fairly intelligent, or I like to think so anyway (please don’t destroy my illusions), but I have done some really dumb things in my life. Another way to illustrate this is the fact that I have met people I initially thought were very beautiful, but they turned out not to be. And by the same token I have met someone that upon first glance, was not very attractive, but housed a spirit so beautiful they were breathtaking.


We, myself included, have to learn to stop rushing to judgement. We need to stop labeling things and people as soon as we see them. We need to look deeper, keep an open mind. When life is coming at us, and all we see is the stinger, let’s look again until we find the beauty of the flower.




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