Bees, honey, and the flow of life

By: Marjory Mejia

Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, GA (38 of 56)

Gathering the sweetness of life. Photo Ian Lin

“Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ~ Mary Oliver

Bees and everything they represent are endangered. Our precious bees won’t live to tell their tale if we continue to dwell in unconscious ways. We are experiencing an increase in toxicity in our environments and a decline in biodiversity: birds, insects, wildflowers, bats, etc. The signs of imbalance are all around us.

“Fifty years ago, Einstein had already insisted on the symbiotic relationship binding these pollen gatherers to mankind: If bees were to disappear from the globe, mankind would only have four years left to live.” ~ More than Honey

Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, GA (42 of 56)

The beauty of bees. Photo Ian Lin

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” ~ Tagore

Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, GA (40 of 56)

Symbols of joy. Photo Ian Lin

Bees, more than honey

Imhoof’s documentary More Than Honey—and bees themselves—are about so much more than honey. One in three crops we eat—including apples, almonds, squashes, blueberries, cranberries, some citrus fruits and broccoli—depend on honey bee pollination..No wonder, Imhoof says, that bees are dying all over the world..Perhaps the most fundamental problem is our attitude toward the bees. We want our bees to be vigorous, resilient and productive, but we breed them for complacence. We design an agricultural system that is both dependent on honey bees and killing them at the same time. We know that letting sick and healthy bees routinely rub bristles only makes things worse, but we keep doing it anyways. As a people, we ask so much of the bees and give them so little respect. The bees’ caretakers and the scientists who study the insects are among the few that truly see the honey bee crisis for what it is. Hopefully Imhoof’s film will help spread the word, like a chemical alarm rippling through a hive. Read full article, A New Documentary Offers Perspective on the Worldwide Honeybee Crisis, here.

We’re delighted that enormous pressure for a bee action plan from scientists, businesses and the public has stung the government into action. The minister’s plan of action must be in place when bees emerge from hibernation next spring: we can’t afford to gamble any longer with our food, countryside and economy.” Friends of the Earth’s executive director Andy Atkins. Read full article, UK government launches ‘urgent’ review, here.

The bigger question of how we live within a world that is as complex as ours in harmony with other species is one that gets addressed through this much smaller more naïve question of asking what would it mean, what would it take to choreograph a ballet for honeybees. Communicating across species in a way that might facilitate a greater deeper relationship between us. Especially at a time where colony collapse disorder was, effectively through our use of pesticides, destroying their habitat. ~ Experimental Philosopher Jonathon Keats explains how he choreographed his Honeybee Ballet

  • Scientists discover what’s killing the bees and it’s worse than you thought A new bill could ban the poisonous, toxic neonicotinoid pesticides. Sign the petition to save bees in the US!

Pollinators. Photos by James Casey.

What might bees tell us if we listened?

Last night as I was sleeping,

I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.


Pollinators. Photos by James Casey.

Preservation, restoration, and deeper communication.

We are the only species that desecrates its habitat. Unfortunately, it is the same habitat we share with other species, a lose-lose situation for all. How do we heal our disconnect from the landscape and come back into a more harmonious relationship with our habitat, environment, ecosystem? We have much to learn from bees, architects and cross-pollinators that delight in the nectar of nature. Their honeycomb is said to symbolize the heart. Their gathering doesn’t hoard, it allows for flow and makes the fecundity of life possible. They work laboriously to gather this sweetness and transform it into the sacred medicine that is honey.

I dream of the day more of us re-awaken to the ancestral wisdom of Indigeneous traditions and recover our place as custodians of Mother Earth, enhancing and sharing rather than exploiting and ravaging what she generously offers in the spirit of love and abundance.

May the spirit of bees inspire us to work collectively and diligently towards living a new healing dream. May we listen with our hearts and may we taste the honey-like sweetness of our labor. With love,

Get flowing!

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Aug 18, 2013
Categories: writings