Imagine with me, writers: It’s 1856 and you are traveling by wagon train across the Great Plains en route to California with dreams of starting an apiary in the Sierra. In the back of your wagon are four unruly, ever-buzzing swarms of honeybees in their hives. Each afternoon, you release them to the fields to forage on wildflowers: scurf peas and clover, milkweed, evening primrose. One by one, the bees spit out of the hive and buzz off, dissolving to specks in the distance. You are very far from home and hungry all the time. The afternoon hours (when you let the mules wade to their knees in the creek and drink long and hard) are empty hours. Contemplative. Watching them go, you have no guarantee that a single bee will return. But you send them out, and early each evening they return, their hairy legs dusted with pollen, their crops full of nectar. They return as though siphoned home by the dusk to waggle and dance their maps of the flowers. They regurgitate the day’s haul of nectar. They enact with precision and diligence—and maybe even love—the great mystery at the heart of Apis mellifera. Do they sometimes sting you? Yes. Every day, in fact. Your hands. Your neck. You’ve grown used to it and hardly flinch. You feel as though it brings you closer to them. And as it is with bees—so too with words. On your journey across the blank page, you travel hard all morning with no thought of the family you left behind or your final destination. You train your sights on only the wildest pastures. When the time is right, go ahead: open the swarming hive of your heart and stand back to glory in the spectacle. The words have their own distances to travel, and they know better than you. Once they have gone, trust that they will return. Tomorrow: send them out again.