Friday, July 12, 2019

The Beekeeper’s Boy

HONNING ~ L'assemblage by Michael Douglas Jones  ©2019

There was a time when I planned an Art & Essay show called The Blacksmith and The Beekeeper’s Boy. They represented two different aspects of life in the mid-nineteenth century and, for that matter, in this twenty-first century, perhaps all centuries. My grandfather was the last blacksmith in our long family line of blacksmiths. In 1950, my father could not raise a family as a blacksmith, so he tried many hats; fireman, farmer, grocer, union steward, jouster, and beekeeper. I am that beekeeper’s boy.

The blacksmith represents the technological, steampunk outlook of the future, where wondrous worlds will be hammered on the anvil of innovation, where invention will conquer any problem and make life an easy existence where we but ask, and invention obeys.

The beekeeper’s boy represents the timeless sense of nature where seasons drift into seasons, and life is fine as it is, slowly flowing forward as the river runs, moving to the ocean to join an even greater sea of life.

I am a child of these two aspects, searching for my place in both of their worlds; a somewhat bipolar existence, where I am content in neither world. It is this discontent that makes life painful, yet makes art possible.

The exhibit changed into the UNION, Art & Essay show that traveled the region. I may revisit the subject; I sold one of the pieces last weekend in the SKETCHBOOK exhibit at Gallery 322 and discovered that I had not photographed, or written about, the pieces that were completed.

Below are some of the notes on that series:

The beekeeper’s boy sits in the meadow,
in the murmur of the moment;
watching the movement of rising and falling;
the bees, their being, and non-being.

Watching, waiting, listening for the bees.
Was that their whisper,
was that the wind, 
or just the whir of white noise.

Colony collapse has finally hit the hive.

The beekeeper’s boy, who raised this rabble,
must now give them up.

The queen is quietly mercurial;
the swarm is more like mayhem.

Still, he had seen the miracle
moving through the meadow.

The beekeeper’s boy sits in the meadow, in the moment;
the minute hours of this moment,
where future will not arrive, and past no longer matters.

The useful Arts and Mysteries, the apicultural history,
the architecture of Aristaeus, all have crumbled,
like wax cappings near recently robbed hives,
like shell casings near recently robbed lives.

Still, he had seen the miracle

moving through the meadow.

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