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.


Cin said...

Absolutely LOVE your blog! I have always wanted to have bee hives on our farm, yet have been afraid for all of their little lives - "what if I can't care for them correctly and they all die?". It is so refreshing to know there are others out there who feel the same responsibility to our fellow creatures. Perhaps I can live the experience through your posts and photos. Best of luck in all you do.

ArtSparker said...

Congratulations on the new music in your life.

herhimnbryn said...

Oh N. This is so interesting. Do you talk to your bees, tell them news and woes? I understand that this is common for beekeepers to do.

word verif. takebe !

Janine said...

How exciting Nao! I think I spotted one of your bees in our garden today. :) Please send my welcomes. By the way, do bees have territories, how far away do they leave their hives? xo Janine

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

It is just so fascinating to read of your beehive adventure. What a garden you are going to have with their buzzy help. I would feel the same way as you, I'm afraid. I'd probably want to bring them all in the house to sleep at night!

Nao said...

Indeed I do talk to my bees, and sing to them, and thank them constantly for being such an inspiring lot. I think our relationship is off to a good start, they are very gentle and I hardly need any protection while working with them.

And to answer Janine's question, yes they do have territories, they fly up to three kilometers from their hive. So it is possible you saw one of my bees, but most likely it was one from the Fairmont Hotel's roof top garden. Your garden is honeybee blessed nonetheless!

Julia Guthrie said...

How fantastic! I can imagine how wonderful it is to have your own beehives. I sit in my garden most days with a cuppa & get so excited when I see a few bees enjoying the daisies & foxgloves & my tomato plants!:)
I'm sure your bees adore their new home, how could they not? :)

Chimera said...

Huge congratulations on getting so far already! Gorgeous pics too! I am so happy to know such a wonderful beekeeper! Will be fascinated to know how it all goes! Please sing the bees my love,
Tanvi x