While I was at Heligan I was asked many questions to which I had no answer. I was told things I wasn’t sure about. A lady said she had seen bumblebees flying at night. Had she?..I don’t know. Certainly I have seen them out and about late into these warm, light, summer evenings. Yesterday at 9.00 pm I saw one flying high over the brambles. But midnight perhaps not? Scientifically they are unlikely to, because they need a certain temperature to fly and be active, but poetically why not?
I thought about Hardy’s lovely poem. Some may argue that “dumbledore” is in fact a beetle, it is debatable, but bee or beetle it is beautiful and evocative. Perhaps I should have saved this for an August post but there are things here that resonate with me very much right now.
As I learn more, my affection, wonder and awe of our “winged, horned and spined” companions grows and grows. Maybe as my knowledge increases I too will be granted access to those, oh, so beguiling, “Earth-secrets”.
An August Midnight by Thomas Hardy
A shaded lamp and a waving blind,
And the beat of a clock from a distant floor:
On this scene enter--winged, horned, and spined -
A longlegs, a moth, and a dumbledore;
While 'mid my page there idly stands
A sleepy fly, that rubs its hands . . .
Thus meet we five, in this still place,
At this point of time, at this point in space.
- My guests parade my new-penned ink,
Or bang at the lamp-glass, whirl, and sink.
"God's humblest, they!" I muse. Yet why?
They know Earth-secrets that know not I.
My fly-bee-night image is my first, my one and only woodcut. The result of the most delightful workshop day at Rufford. An A3 woodcut, of 3 fat, night flying bees.. defying science. It’s hand cut and hand printed on Japanese kozo paper. I loved every minute of doing this, every cut and every press of the baren and each peeling away of each reduced plate. It wasn’t really meant to be night, but somehow that’s just how it turned out…that’s just what happened and anyway, who knows what this night’s waxing gibbous moon may reveal?
2 Colour Woodcut 12 x16 inches