“Life is the flower for which love is the honey” ~ Victor Hugo
When I was little, I loved to stare at the row of honey jars at the local green grocers.
The grocer didn’t mind that I came over after school every day to stand, neck craning and with a silly grin on my face, counting the jars and imagining what the contents would taste like.
The grocer was a family friend who once rigged his store raffle so I would win the stuffed puppy he had as a prize—he admitted to it when he was very old and after much pestering from me to confess.
We had a good laugh about it.
That honey looked so much better than the one my parents had in their pantry—theirs had been there forever, and looked suspect.
But these jars of honey promised delicious pleasures. There were so many different kinds to choose from! Dark buckwheat honey. Creamy, clover honey. Liquid wildflower honey.
I literally jumped up and down with excitement when the grocer told me about all the meadows that the bees would visit to gather their precious pollen.
I wanted to try the honey!
And one day—after a few futile attempts to get my mother to purchase some for me—he asked if I wanted to try one.
“She doesn’t like honey,” my mother stated.
Well, I didn’t like the honey at home, that was true…and I’d only had it with my lemon tea.
But when the offer came to try it, I just couldn’t decide which one. They all looked so exquisitely promising.
Jan and I decided on the creamed clover honey. Creamy. Clover. Honey. All those words fit together like poetry. Poetry for the mouth.
I stood expectantly. He let me pick the jar. It was small, with a label that said creamy and delicious.
It must be so, I reasoned with my ten-year-old brain, if it said as much.
And besides, the cuddly bear on the label looked properly convincing.
I sat on a high stool behind the counter, already pleased that I had been allowed into the inner storekeeper sanctum. I waited with bated breath. Jan passed the teaspoon with a perfectly scooped sample on the end of it…oooh, the honey underneath the top layer was a bit more golden. I stared at it, fascinated by the variance in texture and color.
I was a strange child…you may be gathering this already.
I put the spoon in my mouth—