04 April 20XX + 1
My Dear Lucilius:
Spring has apparently begun to “sprung” here, if you can believe it this early in the year. Temperatures are already pushing into the 50’s F (10 to 14 C), which is definitely an aggressive temperature increase for this time of year – mind you, our nights are above freezing (but not by much), so we are still weeks away from sensibly trying to plant things outside. That said, preparing inside the green house continues apace, including starting seedlings for planting soon.
It has also given the first jolt to the bees to start coming out of the hive en masse.
This is always the most nervous part of the year for me with regards to the bees. Yes, I do what I can to insulate them and yes, they have been designed by God and Nature to manage such things – but it is still nerve wracking to wait. Will I see them begin to trickle out of the entrance reducer as a stream, or will only a few come out, or none at all?
You may remember me telling you this, but I really do not open the hives in the Winter – the bees will form a ball around the queen and “shiver” their way through, coming out for cleansing flights (a polite word for “bathroom breaks”) when the temperature comes up a bit – and thus me opening up the hive not only disturbs the bees, but dissipates any warmth they may have. I do everything I can to help them, of course. There is provided food easily accessible within the hive, and I have a variety of insulation techniques I use to keep the hive as well protected from the cold and wet as possible. As a result of not opening them, one simply never knows.
In this case, I had a happy ending: both hives exuded a steady stream of bees as the sun hit the hives. I will wait a bit longer until I open them up – until I get some sense that Spring is really “here” – but it was a nice reassurance.
Young Xerxes came by while I was watching the bees make their exodus. We talked for a few minutes over this and that – the usual things we cover in a visit – and then he asked me the oddest question I have been asked in over a year: Would I be interested in having Palm Sunday Dinner with him and his girlfriend?
And, he mentioned in passing, his girlfriend’s mother.
I have come to have a certain fondness for Xerxes. He genuinely appears to be a young man who is diligent and innovative. In the past months that I have come to known him, he is exactly the sort of person that one would need in the circumstances that have occurred. He has adapted and continuing to look forward, not back.
That said, I had not imagined him as a potential match maker.
I pushed him – very gently – on the subject. He assured me there was nothing to his request at all, other than a desire to invite me over to spend Palm Sunday in the company of people rather than alone. It just so happened that his girlfriend lived with his mother. His family would be present as well, so there would hardly be the sort of thing where there would be forced conversation with select individuals (My words, not his of course. He was far more circumspect about it.).
I finally acquiesced – after all, I do not have any relevant excuses to bring to bear at this point, like having to stay home to wait for a call or catch something online or do some work around The Cabin. If nothing else is true now, we all have time. His reaction was happy but somewhat non-committal, as if he was attempting to not be more excited about cornering an animal lest it suddenly bolt.
I am old enough, Lucilius, to know when I am being maneuvered into position. It is touching, amusing, and concerning all at the same time.
Your Obedient Servant, Seneca