One day follows the other, and another comes…  It is mesmerizing. Before you know where you are, four or five days have gone by, nearly without paying any notice. You look over your shoulder and think “what, already?!”. This impression of a hazy timeline is reinforced by the weather, which is so steady and delightful. A long sunny day follows another, endless blue skies stretch into the night, only to beam again the next morning.

In a sort of meteorological irony, spring has been quite exceptional this year in south-western France, making the confinement all the more strange. Of course, things may change within days. The Bay of Biscay, our temperamental neighbor to the west, can be very moody at times and decide, all in a sudden, to lash out more water than you would see over the Lakeland fells on a bad day. But such is not the pattern this year. Winter was mild and very wet, but it all stopped as the Corona fury reached us. As though fine weather would make our confinement less depressing.

Actually, it does… A lawyer can work from a distance, albeit not forever, and therefore things are not that bad. Enjoying a cup of tea in the sun in between two phone calls or sections One and Two of a future submission to the Court is a privilege. If you have that eye (and interest), you’d see the first leaves unfold on the oak trees, the daffodils give way to tulips, and the first poppies are to be seen too, which is very early indeed. But the weather is so warm, it feels more like early summer than early spring.

And what about the solitary bees… They buzz around like mad, ensuring the best pollination on earth. The Red Mason bee is there (Cosmia rufa, if you are intimate with it), just like the Leaf Cutter bee (we never got close, its name is impossible to remember). But I have to admit a soft spot for the Carpenter bee (Xylocopa violacea, an easy one). It is as big as it is harmless, and shines like a black diamond, with blue and even purple shades, especially on the wings. It has a heavy buzzing flight and thinks nothing of taking a straight line under your nose into the next flowerbed. I love that! It scares to death people who live in town, unfamiliar as they are with this beauty. So, it’s a bee full of mischief, it’s happy (as far as we know), enjoys its own company (it’s a solitary bee after all), doesn’t care to raise the children it creates (and survives the shame apparently), thinks nothing of socializing (unlike its first-cousin, the social bee), travels where it wants (I hear it has been spotted in Hampshire and Surrey), and its business is doing very well, thank you very much, as pollen is in no short supply (listen to the number of people sneezing around you…). But above all, it can’t give a damn about the Covid 19 bug. Yes indeed, the Carpenter bee has it all to survive confinement…

That’s where I get today. Admiring, and to some extent envying, the liberty of the Carpenter bee. But how would I dare complain? Nature is all around, and it is as beautiful as it can possibly be(e). I think of Eric, the “half-a-bee” of the Monty Pythons, and that really makes me smile. We all need a bee, be(e) it a Half or a Carpenter. If anything, just to silence the bee we all have in our bonnet about the end of this confinement…