Who knew that Merton cared so much for the bees? Not I, until Kathleen Deignan gathered all of them together in one place in her edited collection of Merton’s nature writings (which I am loving more each page), When the Trees Say Nothing. The following is just one gorgeous bee meditation, excerpted from the final volume of Merton’s journals, The Other Side of the Mountain: The End of the Journey. (It’s worth noting that in his hermitage years at Gethsemani, Merton was increasingly drawn to nature and nature writers such as Thoreau):
Nonviolent Himalayan bees: after one had lit on me quietly three times without stinging, I let it crawl on my head a while, picking up sweat for some eclectic and gentle honeycomb, or just picking up sweat for no reason. Another crawled on my hand and I studied it. Certainly a bee. I could not determine whether it was stingless, or just well behaved.