A serendipitous encounter with Maya … in the tropics!
Is there any pleasure derived from arriving earlier than scheduled for an appointment? I wondered after my serendipitous encounter with Maya, on a bright sunny winter morning in Mauritius. Allow me to guide you on the steps of this twirling hourglass sublime creature.
I was half an hour early for a breakfast meeting. I could have stayed in the cozy comfort of the front seat of my car … but I purposely decided to leave it and take a few steps towards the beach. Carpe Diem * (Seize the day – live the present moment according to the Latin poet Horace). That is my motto!
I grabbed a stool and placed it on the grass. The only melody that could be heard was the sea, calmly swaying its lapping waves: a real treat and a bliss. I knew a quick swim right at this moment was unconceivable. Rather than running late, I opted for casting a panoramic glance around me.
The view was simply fantastic, similar to a postcard. A few steps away was an inviting hammock for relaxation. It matched perfectly with the landscape of an azure sky. My attention was drawn to concentric circles traced manually in the white-golden sand of this small cove. What could these be? Alien-drawn or was there a human touch behind? I dug out for more and there appeared two smiling lady gardeners. Like Olympics athletes needing full concentration and minutia, they were shaping this sand, using rakes. I dared not venture where they were, lest I would disturb them.
Then I saw her: Maya !(you would have probably guessed: it was a BEE), which was peacefully twirling around a ‘Veloutier Argenté’ (Tournefortia Argentea). These shrubs, with rough barks have trunks that often take graceful curves, so graceful, that they seem to dance on Jazz tunes under the rays of the golden sun.
Their fluffy, silver leaves, shaped like umbrellas, reminded me of that time when I was a child in Mauritius. I used to pick them up and leave them to wither between two pages of a large book. These were my natural ‘bookmarks’. Then as a souvenir, I wrote the date of the ‘picnic bord la plaz’ (picnic on the beach). The ‘Veloutiers’, are a real treasure for our island. They act as windbreakers and prevent soil erosion, their height never exceeding more than five meters. I was happy to see them aligned along this secluded beach.
What about the inflorescence? It is composed of five-sepals’ chalices, supporting small immaculate white flowers as thin as tissue paper. Maya gracefully swang over them. What was she looking for? Was it nectar, honeydew or pollen? Whether she was domestic, wild, lonely or social, I could not relate, as I am not a beekeeper. I then recalled a few things that I had learnt in class about this insect.
On our planet there are some 20,000 species of bees, the majority of which do not produce honey. I know for sure that she barely sees or not at all in the dark, hence the fact that she does her rounds in broad daylight. She is vegetarian, harmless and does not like intruders. I was overwhelmed to see that she did not consider me an intruder. She just ignored me, while concentrating on her ‘job’, busy moving from flower to flower like a ballerina, a star of the opera.
Sharing with you my short immersion into the world of bees is not just a story. It is nature observed with care. Nature is very important, vital to bees. Heartful thanks and gratefulness to ‘Nou Mamalater’ (Mother Nature)’, and to Maya, who has enabled me to see life from another perspective. Should bees disappear from the surface of the globe, humans for sure would be eradicated too! Bees, as the oldest friends of man, are and will always be part of the food chain.
Invigorated after this escapade, I rose from my seat, my heart filled with joy and respect for this little insect.
Honey being a very good compromise for gourmands, I dreamt of amber coloured gingerbread of my early childhood and of course of honeycombs. An easy short recipe which I am happy to share with you.
Yes, affirmatively, I can say that it is beneficial to arrive earlier than expected for an appointment. ‘All we need is Love’- ‘BEE tle’s Tube title’ – But for Nature of course. Maya, my serendipitous encounter in the tropics, will have convinced me …
Natur L za
- 500 grams of white flour
- 125 grams of brown or white sugar
- 1 teaspoon of cold milk
- ½ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in milk
- 8 spoonfuls with honey mouth
- 1 spoonful of rum (optional)
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- A small handful of sesame seeds
- Mix everything and let stand for two hours
- Beat an egg white and add to the preparation
- Sprinkle with some sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 180o c
- Pour into greased baking pan
- Bake 40-45 mins or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean