Flight of the Bumblebee

"Flight of the Bumblebee" equals honey

Bumblebees flying mean…HONEY!

Fifth grade. 1983.

Imagine you are lying on the cold linoleum floor of the cafeteria during music class. Your classmates are all around you, also lying on the floor. The lights in the room have been dimmed and you are instructed to close your eyes. Your teacher tells you she is going to put on some music and instructs you to think about what story the music is trying to tell. She puts on several songs and not one solitary story pops into your head.

You try to think something, but nothing comes to mind. So, you keep your eyes closed and enjoy what you hear and try to break apart the instruments by their groups: woodwinds, strings, percussion, brass.

Then she puts on “Flight of the Bumblebee” and you think “oh! I know this one!”

A bumblebee. Flying.


I had this professor in my grad program who told us he listened to classical music and tried to track the emotion in each song. I thought that was interesting, so I tried it. I listened to my local classical music station and waited patiently for cresendos and decresendos to see if I could track the sadness or the happiness or the whatever. I couldn’t really do that, so I just enjoyed what I heard.

The deep longing sound of the cello.

The cheerful pizzicato of the violin.

The light, hollow sound of the clarinet.

I could track my own emotions, so that was good enough for me.


I’ve lived years of life from the first flight of the bumblebee to tracking emotions in wordless songs in graduate school. One thing remains.

Music changes with experience. Life changes with experience.

When I was nine “The Flight of the Bumblebee” was an actual flight of an actual bumblebee. My experience was limited to what I knew. Over time my life has handed me valuable lessons. Not all of them pleasant or wanted, but there they are.

I listened to “The Flight of the Bumblebee” today and was flooded with stories:

A harried mom trying to get kids dressed and out the door in the morning.

A number 2 pencil scratching madly at the lined paper trying to finish a hand written essay due in two minutes (about bumblebees).

Guy spinning ten plates simultaneously on sticks in a talent show (while dodging a pesky bumblebee).

Making my coffee before anyone gets up so as to get five minutes alone before the house turns to utter chaos (or flying bumblebees).

Dad chasing a toddler through Chuck E. Cheese with hand sanitizer (like a bumblebee).

Rich Froning doing Fran (while being chased by bumblebees).

Elijah Muhammad on rope climbs last CrossFit regionals (climbing faster and higher than bumblebees).

A bumblebee flying.


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Categories: All The Rest

2 replies

  1. hehehehe Rich Froning, Fran, and Bumblebees. Oh dear. And I wholeheartedly agree with music changing with experience. 🙂

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