Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Days~

The summer days are passing by and there is much happiness as we munch on greens from the garden like goats, as we water and weed and stop to smell the flowers.

There is no such thing as time when I step barefoot on damp earth and bend down to harvest the green sweetness of new peas. No such thing as stress when I watch flowers open and surrender to their fate, whatever that may be. There is nothing else to think about when watching bees come home after a long day laden with pollen and purpose. Nothing to want when you are eating a dessert of freshly picked strawberries and whipped cream. Nothing to worry about when you realize that all things are born, bloom, fruit and eventually go back to the earth, only to be born again.

And on the days that take me out of the garden into the world of 9-5, the world of bus stops and hot asphalt, of scrubbed hands and shooed feet, I have only to think of the oasis that awaits me when I cross the threshold back into the growing paradise that is my blessed garden.

There is so much to be thankful for.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oh the hum~

There are bees buzzing and flowers blooming.  
I cannot come in from outside. 

These days, I spend my mornings singing with the bees down by the hives. The bees hum their musical drone and lull me into their world of vibration and sweetness.   I watch the flowers opening to their honeybee lovers, under June's morning sun, and I marvel at the blessings all around me.  Gus sniffs the sweet honey smells at the hive entrance, curious, intrigued and very cautious.  The cats slumber in the shade of the raspberries, and Mark sips his coffee on the porch. 

Tis a most magical time~

Thou seemest-a little deity!

Anacreon, Ode 34,
To the bee ( fifth century BC)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Beetime Traveller Chapter 3~

The bees new home back behind the veg plot

Well, a week has gone by since the arrival of my honeybees. Their presence in my garden is as magical as I had hoped. Their industrious ways can only be marveled at. The urge to sit outside the hives and watch them for hours is constant. Every morning at dawn, you will find me there, teacup in hand, gazing in awe. Every afternoon I go into the garden and weed to the sound of their hum. Every night I walk down behind the veg plot and watch them coming home from their last forge, the orange and yellow pollen on their back legs weighing them down.

My bees

They arrived in the night. My good Dad was here to help me transfer them into their sparkling new hives from the small, hot wooden boxes that contained them, their queens, and frames of brood, honey and pollen. After 4 stings and much careful attention, they were safely transferred. By the next morning at 5 am, they were hard at work, buzzing around the garden gathering nectar and pollen in their expert style. They wasted no time, they didn't hesitate, or stop to wonder what next.

Dad and I picking the bees up

As they adjusted to their new home, they appeared perfectly at ease. I have to admit, the neurosis was all mine. My desperate desire to take care of them to the best of my ability was taken to extremes. I was worrying about everything. I worried about the health of the queens, the honey supply, the heat of the day, my own beginner's clumsiness whilst working in a hive.

By 4:00 yesterday I was a mess, collapsed on the living room floor in tears, saying to Mark, "I don't want any of them to die. I want them all to be happy and healthy and whole. I want good weather for them, the right food, and the perfect conditions..." and as I spoke between sobs, Mark lending a kind ear (as men sometimes do when their wives are weeping uncontrollably), I began to laugh, and the harder I laughed, the more I realized the absurdity of my wishes and the gigantic metaphor that the bees were offering my whole life.

Oh, my desire to control, to be God, to take away variables, to eliminate disaster, to avoid death at all very human of me. Perfectly forgivable I think, but not the most Zen style.

And as the summer breezed through the door, and Mark and I laughed at my hilarious and honest human quest, a small part of my "need to control" went with the breeze.

What was left was a kind of relief, a recognition that everything is unfolding without my helpful interference, and beyond this, that it always has been. That honeybees have been doing what they do for millions of years and who am I to think I can make their world perfect. Who am I to think I can make anyone's world perfect. And as my swelled ego shrunk a wee bit, my shoulders dropped and my breath deepened and something dissolved both physical and mental, something let go, something that I can only describe, as me. I let go, and this, was the relief.

Indeed, beekeepers do loose bees and sometimes they don't. Bees, like us, live and then die. Sometimes bees are sick and and sometimes they are healthy. Sometimes there is lots of honey and sometimes there is not.

Yes, if I learn as much about myself as I did this first week of beekeeping I am in for some fascinating discoveries, and if I learn nothing more about myself, well that will be fine too. (Relinquishing control is task enough)

For this day though, sitting by the hive in the morning, with my tea,watching these buzzing winged ones work, is profound enough.