Flying Parables

Shyness isn't something I typically exhibit. Quietness, taciturnity, certainly. Not shyness. It doesn't take long for people to learn I have a passion for bees. It delights me to share how, when naturally requeening a colony, the first "Princess" to emerge from her cell will sing a song and her sisters will answer her. Then she assassinates them.

Pretty cool, huh?

Their first question is a very tentative, "Why bees?" so I thought an apt beginning to this hive journal would be to start a working explanation of Why Bees, although I think eventually the entire site will be one varied explanation.

Bees are integral to your life, and you barely know it. Most of the food you eat was pollinated, even if you don't eat many fruits or vegetables directly. (For more on scurvy...) Imagine a world without almonds, apples, melons, cherries or, dare I say, coffee.

Yet, despite their gastronomical helpfulness, I am not as attracted to them for this reason as for the fact that, well... I don't know. I just love them. Maybe it's their intrinsically communal behavior that brings forth sweetness and light out of the pitch darkness of the hive. Maybe it's their self sacrificing nature; a being that considers itself, not a rouge individual, but an integral moving part of a larger mechanism. Perhaps it is that I, myself, was made for community but forget it daily.

I've heard that bees buzz at middle C. While this seems to be a coincidence, let's also remember that they dance as a means of communication within and without the hive. This can be a way to relay the position of a particularly nectary group of flowers or to warn of intruders. They hang in clusters to lay waxy combs of foundation, fan their wings to cool the hive in summer to keep that same wax from melting, and cluster for warmth in winter, moving in one mind from honey store to honey store.

They are thousands of tiny parables reminding me what I am supposed to be to you, and what you are supposed to be to me. There is no squabbling over resources among themselves (unless you're a drone bee in the fall, but that's a later post). Each sister gives to the hive from her own season of life to the fullest.

They're beautiful. That's why.


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