Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Summer and Bees


I'm really glad that it's summer. Glad to be done with school, until next year. My latest read was the Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

It's the story of Lily Owens, a fourteen-year-old girl who lives with her father, T.Ray, and sells peaches by the road. Lily's mother is dead, and Lily wants to know the secrets, needs to figure out the mystery of the things her mother left behind. And there is Rosaleen, the Negro stand-in mother for Lily. When Rosaleen insults three racists, Lily knows they both have to get out of there.

Tiburon, South Carolina, two hours away for where they live, has three Negro women--August, the leader, June the hard-hearted one, and May, the burdened spring-sister. Rosaleen and Lily spend the summer there with the three beekeepers. Lily keeps her own secrets until she is ready to tell August, who loves her. Lily learns that skin color doesn't matter--it's the heart that does. And with help, she learns how to fix her own heart.

I loved Bees; this was one of my favorite reads of the year--and a great way to begin the summer. Bees is ultimately about mothers and daughters and sisters and friends, and just relationships in general. How we are, how we act, and what matters in life. Lots of lessons in this book. It's about faith and carrying faith and hope inside and how real it is. It's about the secrets and pain and hurt that humans carried. That we all carry. Burdens. Lily learns about womanhood and standing up for herself and not being afraid.

Some summers stay with us forever. Floating in the air, like a breath. Memories that surround our lives and make us real, make us who we are. Or change us. Let us forget that we are mere humans. Nature consumes, loves, gives, takes away. Nature is a part of summer. Nature. Bees. And the summer is the time to learn the secrets, secrets of the heart, and the secrets of Nature--the secrets of bees.