I read the best sentence today: “Bees can remember human faces, but only if they are tricked into thinking that we are strange flowers.”
It’s from a scientific study that Harper’s reported on in their Findings section. Harper’s isn’t normally a magazine I read, but when a friend recently graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, the speaker at her ceremony advised the graduates to regularly read a literary review.
This sounded wise. Chris subscribes to Harpers, and although this isn’t a literary review, it’s better that “People,” so I spent my Saturday afternoon reading. In addition to the bees’ imaginations, I was fascinated by the poetry of Wislawa Symborska. He wrote a poem called “Here.” It begins:
“I can’t speak for elsewhere,
But here on Earth we’ve got a fair supply of everything.
Here we manufacture chairs and sorrows,
Scissors, tenderness, transistors, violins,
Teacups, dams and quips.”
Even if you don’t fully comprehend it, (I’m not sure I really do…) how can you not dive into and savor such poetry? In my afternoon imaginings, interesting images took shape. Here, in my house, I thought, I don’t manufacture much, but I do appreciate and tend to books of good stories, dust-bunnies, the aroma of a fine batch of spaghetti sauce, conversations, good intentions, and a lot of photographs. These I have in fair supply.
In Harper’s I also read a lovely “Sonnet for a Tango in the Twilight,” an article on our culture’s “War on Unhappiness,” and a short piece that asked us to explore a question that defines our times and, oddly, the fate of the post office: “Do we want to be angels or do we want to be human beings?” I also learned that “Hermit crabs queue in long lines, ordering themselves from biggest to smallest, while awaiting a synchronous vacancy chain, where in each crab moved to the next biggest shell.”
That last image makes me smile. The whole afternoon did. It was a smile that stemmed from a mind engaged, and of course from my efforts to strike a pose as a strange flower. One never knows when she’ll encounter her next bee.