November 2, 2017
Today’s notebook opens to a mist that cannot lift. The pen cannot find dry paper and the camera begs to be left behind. That paper is dry inside four walls yet in those four walls the camera documents… muted apathy. You see it is Fall and the seasons are predictable. It is now that the season of Fall will turn and face north knowing the mist will soon frost to a bone chilling cold. In Canada we know weather’s precipitous play will look different from the outside in. I follow that wisdom and go outside. In doing so I find mist moving, colours deepening, and a bee keeper’s hive.
Two decades ago policing was on my horizon and the beings crowning my animal totem were very clear. Those beings came in droves. They were the bees. They flew metaphorically into my dreams and literally into my moving car. Back then I chose not to panic and simply see this as a sign. They required I learn to peacefully accept my new role as constable. Their striped bodies told me I too was to be dressed the same as the rest of my colleagues. My striping was soon to be a thin red line dripping down uniformed trousers. If I was to survive in this world I needed to know my role and keep the wisdom of the bees close to my heart.
You see, the bees spoke volumes humans could not convey. It was the bees that taught me to harness my tongue and observe the dance those marked with approved seniority chose to convey. The bees spoke of travelling great distances to gather pollen and they reminded me of deadly risk… if I were to use my assigned weapons. They would show me the way in this strange human world. I dared not speak of their wisdom as I moved from being a civilian into the human hive of policing. That human hive was a strange world tethered to ancient hierarchy and old gender based rules. That hive did not have a Queen to lead them but they certainly had a crowned leader called Chief. It seemed wrong to use that word considering how the uniform spoke of transgressions issued by European ancestors who re-populated this land.
That human hive housed me for years and in it I followed policy, procedure, directives, and Chief’s Orders. I worked with weapons holstered, never deployed, though that proved to be a recurring challenge. You see, this human hive of uniformed guards exist in the interface between order and chaos. That nebulous mix is a dangerous place to harvest pollen. It is a dangerous place for the mind because civilians demand a stability which does not exist.Today the weather is misty and the bees seem to show up again. I have no professional use of force belt nor do I have a good camera. The bees take no note of my lack of gear. They simply vibrate and dance, stirring old memories. Their wings fan while their abdomens hum as they dance their directions between order and chaos. They remind me the world is as cyclical as time is dimensional. They state hierarchy and order still have reason, but this time they ask me to check my heart rate. I listen for that familiar thump and when I do, I find an unexpected rhythmic calm, while the bees swarm.
As they swarm around my head they drum my eardrum with the sound “keep….keep”. They underpin that pulse with a hum, chanting “work….work, all is well”. They know I am there and they know I do not understand. This time we both know more, we both know I do not understand.
JT Murphy signing off for shift.