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Holy, Heavenly, Happy Bees

Bees are the most wonderful creatures on the planet. Find something, just any old little thing, you can say that about. Little bees. Little honeybees, less than 2 cm in length. Maybe they don’t speak to you, like they speak to me, but something does, I’m sure of it. Something speaks to each of us, to slow us down enough to hear the earth, to hear our own breath & heartbeat. Something that pulls us down to ourselves in a way that graces us with the sheer passage of time. Can you be that present? It’s hard for me. But bees help me. They make time stand still for me as I watch, in sheer delight, the fluttering of wings. Think of that alone! It will slow you right down, if you can surrender to it.

Beat —— beat —— beat of wings. Miraculous little creature beating it’s wings. I don’t know how, but these furiously busy bees slow me down. I go and go and go in my life. Then, I come home and watch bees. Plop myself on the stoop in front of the hive. Single-minded, they are. They have focus. A simple job. A simple job supporting all of the planet! They are happiest when they are working, bringing pollen, water and nectar into the hive. I watch, slack-jawed. What else could there possibly be that matters, but a bee’s flight across my yard, arching in a path straight home? Home to a hive I bless and bless. Press my ear to it and listen in wonder. Sit in front of in complete awe at their beauty. Why wouldn’t they come home? To such adoration!

So, did my bees make it through their first winter? Oh, I’ve been waiting and waiting to see. I fretted. I worried. Oh, how I wrung my hands. Mea culpas a priori, you bet, all winter. All winter surmising how I failed my bees. I got into my hive for the first time since about November. So nervous that they didn’t fair well. So nervous that I had killed them. I pulled up bars to dead-silence. My heart sank. My worst fears coming to life. I pulled up bar after empty bar. Finally! 5th or 6th bar in – bees. And honey. Lots of it! And brood! And my Queen, her white marking almost worn off from workers keeping her warm all winter. They were there. But, I’m still not convinced. They don’t look happy, they are not all a bustle like they normally are. I call Scott. They aren’t happy, I tell him. Really, he says? How can you tell, no smiles on their little faces? Mary Jo! It was winter yesterday!!! They are fine. Ok. Lucky me for Scott. He brings me back down to earth with a good laugh every time. My bees are fine. They are great. It’s been a week, the weather’s warmed even more and they are out with a force. Bringing in pollen, and yes, happy, happy. Look. Just listen. Listen.

Those are happy bees! I sat out watching them a good portion of the weekend. They are happy and I can tell. They made it through. Survived me. Survived the destruction I caused at the beginning, remember? They are on the bird bath where I can get antennae to antennae with them. They have so much honey stored, I’ll be able to take a little bit soon. As soon as there’s no more chance of cold and things are really in full bloom.

Oh girls. I poke my head out my back door in darkness tonight to look at the hive. Flip the light on and out pokes a bee head from the hive entrance! I just don’t even have words. Just that image. Little bee head, life right there, just doing her thing. I am finally overjoyed to be a mirror. Only now, I’m a strange kind of a mirror. Reflector and absorber at the same time. Holy, heavenly, happy am I.

4 responses to “Holy, Heavenly, Happy Bees

  1. They look in fine form, there must be plenty outside for them to collect!

  2. A French study says pesticides fog their little brains, and they can’t find their way home, causing their colony to collapse.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/science/neocotinoid-pesticides-play-a-role-in-bees-decline-2-studies-find.html

    I’m pretty sure it’s happening to us too. Amazing how nobody seems to notice. i guess it’s hard to notice when your brain is fogged.

    • This has been the word in the bee yard for some time now. I’ve read lots about these pesticides on the beekeepers group’s blog & just saw this same NYT article there. There have been a ton of beekeeper’s in my area reporting losing hives this winter. It’s sad and disheartening. So, I feel pretty fortunate that my hive survived the winter. I think perhaps it’s partly because I live in a residential neighborhood where the yards are relatively small, people keep lots of flowers and probably use pesticides minimally.
      My post Save the Bees was a plea to the EPA to ban the pesticide clothianidin, a neonicotinoid. It’s amazing that it’s “puzzling” – it’s a pesticide! Some scientists keep blaming parasites, disease, and fungi. These are all things that bees have dealt with all along just fine. You’ve got to look at the whole picture. But, like you point out, it’s hard when your brain is fogged.

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