Bee balm blossoms spread like fireworks. Their long stalks meander through porch slats, shade the verdant carpet of lithodora, and invade the gravely garden path. Poignant shadows, devoid of the vibrant red, shimmer on the gray porch boards, cracked from weathering.
Just the other day, churning storm clouds, which vibrated with more thunder-growls than lightning-strikes, brought a battering of rain. A bumblebee, its wings resting from flight, sat silently on the dry side of the porch post. The wind chimes were still, perhaps savoring nature's influx of percussion, which was as transfixing as Japanese fire drummers in an outdoor amphitheater.
Today, though, the sky is blue. But not just blue. It's the sort of blue upon which you can barely gaze and yet it calls to you. It's pure and unhazed by humidity. It's cheerful and tips over even the most dismal mood. And, it enhances everything: wisteria vine scrolls, browning delphinium flowers, even bee balm shadows.
Whether rainy or sunny, the allure of bee balm brings a pleasant visitor. I heard the hover first. Not the zingy bumble of a fuzzy bee. No. There's more intonation to it. The sound captures a primal chant, smooth and constant. I always hear it first. Then, eyes roving across the array, I catch the fluid flight of the hummingbird.
Such moments make life worthwhile. Amidst the waiting and the whirl-winding, we delight in stringing together the wonder we find. Sometimes we place such finds in a box - one that's worn and smooth with a slight creak in the opening - with a uniquely-shaped rock, a dried flower, a colorful shell, a black and white snapshot of people you always wished to know. We set them out in a strand over time, letting the sun and the rain, the night and the closeness settle in, so that no two are alike. And as you admire your own box of memories, take a moment to ponder the beauty in those of others, too. Maybe it will slow your quick words, pop a smile where indifference usually looms, and invite you to see beauty where you expected not to see it.
SENK, an artist and writer in the Shenandoah Valley, savors moments contemplating life's intricate beauty.