I was seven. It was my first summer living alone with my grandmother in the coastal foothills of Sonoma County, in the place I think of as my other home. Wild with the smell of California Bay trees. The bed I shared with Gram made neatly outside, perfect for otherworldly stargazing. Magically book-ending a day of carefree adventuring and swimming.

Except the day my great uncle, Uncle Adolf (born well before World War II), came to collect the honey from my grandmother’s bee boxes.

I watched from the deck while he donned his white garb with mask, smoked the hive and gently handled the trays. He moved ever so slowly. Bees and Uncle relaxed together while continuing with their respective jobs.

This was an entirely new type of magic. These hovering beings of the day were equally as captivating as those I fell asleep to. I was transfixed and a bit confused, my notion of these buzzing creatures (with stingers) shaken up. This was wondrously new.

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