Humming with the Hive
Published in Tiny Seed Journal

~ For Annelies
At 1pm on Saturday, we don our white bee suits
me in a hip length jacket
and Annelies, my 82 year old spirit-mom
decked out in full jumpsuit
We zip each other’s heads and faces
into the protective netting
and slowly approach the hive

Annelies is in a pissy mood
and it’s my first time with the bees
so I tell her you best get over your mood
or you’ll upset the bees
and they’ll sting us both to death!

I ask the bees’ permission
and Annelies loads the smoke gun
I take a breath and lift the lid

Annelies bellows a few puffs
into the crawling mass of guard bees
who stand sentry at the top of the hive

They immediately whisk themselves away
on the tiny spinning wheels of their wings
to alert their Queen
who reigns from ground level
her tiered crown rising in boxes of gold above her

We lever out the frames of hexagonal comb
eager to feast our eyes on the harvest
to our delight they are full to the waxy brims
and oozing with sticky goodness

We tap the sides of the frames
and the bees fall down
in piles of yellow and brown chaos
climbing over each other
weaving a tapestry
with the fine threads of their legs

Time slows down
I am in the zone
It’s actually the most at peace I’ve felt in weeks
Relaxed and careful
I don’t want to injure even one single bee

Did you know it takes one bee’s entire life to make a single drop of honey?

I am holding a spoonful of amber custard
that I just dug out of the comb
I place it in my mouth like a golden egg
there is no word to describe this
We poke into pockets of dark pollen
pull them out like treasure

How can you not spread your hands to the sky
and say thank you!
Thank you to the sun and the flowers
Thank you to the earth and the water
Thank you to the bees!

Thank you for each mouthful of glory
that makes me feel
like I have just heard the most amazing news!

Here with the bees
I am inspired by their cooperation
how each bee gives her life for the hive

Why can’t we learn to live in community like the bees?
Why don’t we know that we are stronger
when we work together as a whole
each of us contributing our skills and talents
for the greater good

The bees share their amber bounty
still warm from the hive
it drips in rivulets down my fingers and chin
I cannot stop lapping it up
I cannot stop smiling
every cell of my being
steeped in sweetness
humming along with the hive

How much longer will we survive as a species
let alone live in sustainable interdependence
with the entire web of life
if we don’t choose love and cooperation