Saturday, May 8, 2010
A friend of mine keeps bees. She has been trying to persuade me to do the same.
This is very funny, because I have a primal reaction to any insect that buzzes in the air around me. I whimper. Those vibrations resonate with me, alright, and not sympathetically. My nerve endings tingle and get nearly frozen with the need to choose between "fright" or "flight."
This is why I understand beekeeper garb.
Kinda "2001: A Space Odyssey," no? I see just one problem. Do you? Look...no gloves! Ack!
As it turns out, people actually roam near the hives without garb. Well, without beekeeper garb. One assumes that they are generally clothed. Which is, as far as I am concerned, something to be thought of in these situations as "the gift of garb."
The whole concept seems so sylvan in the abstract.
How pretty and peaceful. How one with nature. How pollinating. The delights of the dripping honeycomb. The thrum of Earth itself, raised in screens and travelling the air.
But then other realities settle in.
At this point, I need to make it clear that I love bees. They are one of my totem creatures, with dragonflies and frogs. (Oddly, I was once scared stiff by the turbulent appearance of a dragonfly in front of my 4-year old face...I seem to have a, erm, complex relation with some of my totem creatures.) I keenly appreciate their role on our planet and in my garden. I welcome them. Literally. I'll say "Hello, bee" when I'm working in the garden. I'll note if it is a bumble or a mason or some manner of bee I need to learn about...or even if, as once was true and brought happiness to me, it is a honeybee. Then, depending on my constitution that day, I will pseudo-blithely work on, taking note if I seem to be disturbing the bee. Or, I might decide to check out something in the front yard. NOW. And amble away.
I do what I can to cognitively adjust my fear. I sit and admire the bees. I adopt a nearly meditative stance when I realize I have happened nearly on top of a big bumbler (or one upon me), and breathe through the first minute. I have even achieved apiarian peace.
I try not to blame bees for the behavior and culture of other stinging flying things which also cause harmonic disturbances in my universe, like wasps and hornets.
I've been thinking about it for a couple of years now. I go through data, and slide shows like this one at The Daily Green. I smile when I see a mason bee emerge from a hole if its own creation that is next to a favorite plant.
Nonetheless, if you were an oddsmaker, you'd probably lay better chances with Mac Naked Honey on my skin this summer than a hive in my backyard.
Beekeeper suit found at Blossomland Supply. Second two pictures, from a series detailing a nucleus hive install, from the blog Institute of Jurassic Technology. Review of Mac Naked Honey coming up.