On Tuesday Christopher shows me The Ropes: hivebox production. He’s got slats and slats of wood in various tubs all cut to length for the frames and the hive tops. He’s got a jigsaw tied upside-down on a sawhorse. “Dominican style,” he says, grinning.
Some time later I go out whistling to the hives with a Sharpie in hand. I’m numbering the hives for organization’s sake, and I get to #2 and Ka-ching! I’m stung on my right bicep. As I write this now it itches like mad, mad, mad.
The rest of the day I spend shoveling and shoving mango into my mouth ad nauseam. We’re waiting all day for the hay truck to arrive with its load of two hundred bales for unloading in the stables. It’s almost 9 o’ clock when we hear the horn at the gate. The sun is setting. “Well, this is going to be fun in the dark,” says Christopher. I gulp down my mug of coffee.
We get to the stables with the truck, and now it’s time to stack all two hundred bales. Christopher likes them 2x3x6. Two Dominican boys no older than fourteen hop out of the truck and lend us a hand. When we go to retrieve the bales from the truck we’ve got to watch our heads because the guy in the truck just throws the bales up, up and out with no regard for where they land. It’s like the sky is falling, if the sky were made of hay. Still, we keep on. The night consumes the sunset. We keep on. At one moment, dodging falling bales, many of which break mid-flight, scattering straw that flutters to the earth in helical flight, I look up past the Hay Danger.
In the night sky, in a bowl of transparent obsidian illumined by its contents: congregations of silver, moonrime and calcium, circles, rockets and nebulae, clouds of floating rock and ice, hovering there, suspended, like dust in a sunbeam, I see, in a word (or two): the Milky Way.