Humming with the Hive

At 1pm on Saturday
we don our white bee suits
me in a hip length jacket
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!
She laughs and says, you’re right.
And fast as that, she switches her channel.

I ask permission of the bees
and Annelies loads the smoke gun.
I take a breath and I 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
until the bees fall down in piles
of yellow and brown chaos
climbing over each other
as though weaving a great tapestry
with the black threads of their legs.
We gently shoo the rest away from the honeycomb
with a turkey feather
because, Annelies tells me,
they don’t like the brush.

Time slows down.
I am calm and steady.
It’s actually the most at peace I’ve felt in weeks.
I’m 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 one single drop of honey?

I am holding a spoonful of rich amber custard
that I just dug out of the comb.
I place it in my mouth like a golden egg
like I am the luckiest girl alive.
We dig in the pockets
of dark sour pollen
and pull out the 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 golden mouthful of glory
that makes me smile
like I have just received the most amazing news in the universe.

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

Why can’t we learn to live in community like the bees?
Don’t we know that we are stronger
when we work together,
each of us
with our essential skills and talents,
contributing to the greater good,
loving the harmony
that each of us helps make
as we create this world

The bees
with their amber bounty
warm from the hive
dripping in rivulets
down my fingers and chin.
I cannot stop lapping it up
every cell of my being
steeped in sweetness
buzzing with life
humming along with the hive.

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