The Honey Cushion

As often happens with me, I hear a phrase that grabs my attention and my imagination and my brain begins to tick as I decide that the idea needs to be expanded into an article – or even a book. 

Such is the case with “The Honey Cushion” mentioned by my mentor Meggin McIntosh. The discussion revolved around the topics of coughs, allergies, and the value of local honey in alleviating some of the bothersome symptoms – sneezing, watery eyes, lethargy, and all-round irritability.

To the rescue - bees as they cross-pollenate flowers and with collected pollen comes the production of honey. Not just any ol’ honey, mind you, but that which arrives from bees and flowers right in your own backyard. Never wanting to be without this vital luxury, Meggin maintains a local “honey cushion” for the just-in-case incidents of life.

Beekeeping is a popular hobby and business. I remember when my brother-in-law Rich launched into this endeavor. 

Armored in bee suit and helmet, he’d periodically wander out into their yard and return with combs dripping with honey. While my sister Carole preferred the store-bought variety, Rich’s proved delicious. 

Just as he perfected the art, he received one (or 10!) stings too many which sidelined his career. The once filled jars, his honey cushion, now stand empty, his suit headed to a rummage sale, and the hives? Who knows where they landed. Perhaps they served as a surprise to the new owners of the house along with a swarm of energetic Apis Linnaeus – honey bees. And that is the story of the true honey cushion – always have enough of certain, special products on hand to benefit personal health and well-being. 

Metaphorically, I define a honey cushion as being prepared for any event through advanced planning and preparation. The pandemic has taught us about outlining necessities, organizing, and saving. 

Remember just two years ago when baking yeast became an impossible-to-find substance? When I ran low, I scanned the internet repeatedly before finding bricks for sale in Canada. Now a brick, mind you, contains one heck of a lot of yeast, but I generously shared with friends and they promised to share later with me. Then came paper towels, toilet paper, Clorox, disinfectants, and flour. 

A strange conglomeration of missing commodities, hoarders seemed to have an extraordinary collection. Although I never faced the empty shelves of packaged and canned goods or bare produce sections that many encountered, I am thankful and pleased that our store managers, personnel, and supplies fulfilled our needs are quickly as possible. I did carefully stockpile some food and essentials for our family, but I avoided taking more than my fair share. I had a honey cushion, but not a self-centered-me warehouse of stuff.

A honey cushion is easily stretched further: ample free time; plentiful rest; sufficient interactions and abundant connections; copious amounts of love and security; generous knowledge building opportunities. You recall “pockets”? 

How are you doing at setting time aside just for you and your particular get-energized-fast requirements? Are you cruising when it comes to snoozing? 

For me, many nights I awaken at 2am which sends me into the cycle of falling asleep on the couch at 8pm to have my eyes pop open at an early hour once again. However, when I do sleep through, what a celebration unfolds! Zoom, though criticized, has offered engagement activities and new friendships that could never have happened in any other fashion. 

Chicago friends at 8am; New Yorkers at 9:35. Denver at 11 with Reno by noon. I have enjoyed “live” meetings, but I have been enriched via technology.

Pandemic time also brought a renewed gratefulness for family and friends. Our weekly Winnemucca-Boise trip ended, but each Facetime call helps fill gaps and in-person visits are all the more precious. And what about knowledge? 

I feel I have gained a whole new understanding supported by vast experiences and learning opportunities. I am more up-to-date on news and politics; I research topics ad nauseum. I have time and interest to explore. My honey cushion overflows (or does honey seep? Flood? Ooze? Trickle? Drip?) Or is there a variation in honey movement depending on the time of day, the season, the attitude of the bees, the richness of the pollen? Oh, dear! I have a new research project ready for investigation. Thankfuly, my honey cushion remains hefty and I love to explore new wonders.

Don’t forget the Tuesday Lecture Series at the Senior Center at 10:15am. Join us!