Apis

from Reflections on a Life, writings and paintings for my father

Watercolor of a honey bee representing Apis, the ancient constellation of stars that remind me of my dad, the bee keeper.
Apis, (detail & thumbnail) 8x8 inches, watercolor on board, by Annette deFerrari, private collection

The night my dad died, Ed and I were outside looking up through the tall and narrow trees, seeing what bit of sky was visible. Ed pointed out Pleides. It was framed by winter branches. I liked how it faded in and out. I hoped that when I visited my parents that winter, they would want to bundle up and go outside to see the stars. But my father was already becoming one of the stars.

The next morning, as I was packing, I pulled out my star constellations book, and Ed noticed a bee constellation in one of the maps. This was sweet. My dad was a beekeeper. For months I looked for the constellation in that mess of stars in the sky.

At the lake, I asked an astronomer about it. “You mean the Beehive Cluster,” he said.

“Mnn, no,” I said, and showed him my book.

He studied the page for a moment, and then with his laser, pointed to where Apis should be in the sky. I later discovered that Apis is ancient and is no longer considered to be a constellation. Still, I know it’s up there, along with all the other stars above us.

An earlier version of this writing and the above painting were part of an exhibit honoring my father shortly after his death.

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Annette deFerrari

Wanderer & ponderer of nature, art, & our ties to our stuff. I have a series of stories about my dad & an in-progress book: You Don’t Have To Throw It All Away