We are all going to be in want of the succulent peach if the bee population continues to decline. Most of us do not have time to take a small paint brush from blossom to blossom to pollinate fruit trees. God has given that job to the bees.
Since we will soon be looking for peaches sold by local growers, I share this poem by Li-Young Lee.
Beehives in an orchard
From Blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.
From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.
O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.
There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background, from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.
This day on our church calendar is a "Rogation Day." According to An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, Rogation Days are celebrated three days before Ascension Day, about which I will blog on Thursday. The Dictionary says that this celebration originated in Vienne, France, in the fifth century when Bishop Mamertus introduced days of fasting and prayer to ward off a threatened disaster.
In England these days were associated with the blessing of the fields at planting. In the United States they have been associated with rural life and with agriculture and fishing. The term is from the Lation rogatio, "asking."
From the Book of Common Prayer (pp. 207-208), here are two prayers for Rogation Days, which include today, tomorrow and Wednesday:
"Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labor to gather them, that we, who constantly receive good things from your hand, may always give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, for ever and ever. Amen."
"Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with your people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsible to your will; and give to us all a pride in what we do, and a just return for our labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen."
I know that somewhere in those prayers, God hears our cries to preserve and prosper the honey bees.