Mark Ballard

A spring message that was meant to bee

Mark Ballard painted these bees over the years.
Mark Ballard painted these bees over the years. Special to The Telegraph

Spring officially arrived last week and it’s definitely showing us its colors. The blades of grass are shifting from a dull brown to a bright green. The trees and shrubs are producing new growth and greening up. In fact, almost everywhere you look you can see some sort of green. The pollen particles have been dropping a fine mist of yellowy green dust on everything in their path. It is like our city is being covered with green dust and there isn’t a dust cloth quite large enough to handle the cleaning job.

Of course, this green pollen comes as a result of all the flowering trees waking up from their winter’s sleep, budding out and adding beauty. Springtime is one of my favorite times of years. Not just because of all of its colors and blooms, but because it offers a chance for renewal. Everything that appeared to be dead from the winter’s cold bursts forth just at the right time to offer beauty and hope.

Last Sunday afternoon, I went to the gym for a vigorous spinning class. When I returned home all hot and sweaty, I took a detour to our deck and fell back into a lounge chair. I looked up into the bright blue sky and offered a prayer of thanks. I then closed my eyes and took a few minutes to rest and contemplate my personal goals and dreams.

The next thing I knew, it felt like a miniature fan was blowing onto my face. Even though my eyes were still stinging from the salty residue left from my workout, I slowly managed to crack one eye open to see what it was. There, only a couple of inches away, flew a very large bumblebee. Its wings were going at such an incredible speed, I actually felt cool air from them on my face. I smiled and opened the other eye to behold this wonderful insect that is not even supposed to be able to fly. I said to myself, “Boy, did it prove everyone wrong!”

You see, there’s an old fable about a scientist who once calculated that physics proved a bee shouldn’t be able to fly. Although the story has been widely debunked, it’s such an inspirational idea that the romantic in me chooses to hold on to it.

This plump bee didn’t just fly. It entertained me for several minutes darting close to my face and then pretending to leave only to come back and hover. From my vantage point, I was able to study every detail of this bee. It was so close that its transparent wings were almost invisible as it seemed to effortlessly flap them to stay in flight. Finally, as if to say goodbye, it almost landed on my face and then turned and took flight into the sky.

Bees have always been special to me. My mother started collecting them years ago and I have continued. Bees of all shapes and sizes surround us in every room of our house. I paint them frequently and use a bee for my personal logo. Today, this real bee had stopped by for a reason. It wanted me to know that I could, like it, do the impossible.

I believe if we are quiet and listen to nature, we are sent signs to guide us. Apparently, I needed a lesson about continuing to follow my dreams and it took a bumblebee to show me. We should all continue to dream of becoming better human beings and never give up even when doubt and negativity start to creep in. What if the bumblebee had just accepted that it was not supposed to fly and never tried? Well, then I wouldn’t have had my visitor flying by today or received the valuable lesson it offered me!

Mark Ballard’s column runs each week in The Telegraph. Send your questions or comments to 3514 Ridge Avenue, Macon, GA 31204; call 478-757-6877; email; follow him at creates; or become a subscriber to Mark’s Facebook page.