I do not know how it is that I know his name is Bertrand, but I do. He visits my garden, feigning indifference, but I know he wants me to notice him. He labors mid-air and mid-stalk, single-minded and resonant. I have heard snatches of song about his ladylove, Bea. She is the reason he toils.
One scorching summer day I watched Bertrand coolly waft from pale gallardia to waned marigold. “Silly bee,” I said. “Sour juice! Why would you drink it?”
“Silly human,” I heard. “I do not drink the juice. I drink the color. Do you see how the flowers fade? Where did the color go? In me! I take it for the winter. You think blankets are warm? You should try orange and red.”
Summer aged. Bertrand became the lone buzz in the garden. “Silly bee!” I said. “Can’t you read? It says ‘Butterfly Bush’! You aren’t a butterfly!”
“Silly human!” I heard. “Do you see any butterflies? They’re gone. This is mine. This purple is the real color of the Valentine, and Bea will have it in February when you have only flimsy reds in a world of grey and beige. I will feel sorry for you.”
Then October. With charred tips and spikey seedpods, the garden remnants bowed to the winter gods, whose fiat had already inflamed the trees. A few fragile lavender stalks rose over the tired lot, and Bertrand clambored over them; they arched with his weight. “Silly bee,” I said. “There’s little there. Why such effort?”
“Silly human,” I heard. “Do you know nothing? There is fragrance here. Transcendence. Bea will have it when all you have is the scent of the furnace.”
When the snow dances in the windowlight, I will wonder.