Its been two years since I’ve written here so before I launch into writing again I’d like to say something of where I’ve been. Two years ago I paused writing about bees because I wasn’t clear on what I needed to say anymore. For years I had followed the wonderful synchronistic happenings listening to the bees, soaking up their lessons with a sense of awe and joy. There were many lessons gathered quickly that needed integration.
The queen just escorted out of the colony – June 2015
In 2015, I finally experienced the wonder of a honeybee colony swarming into my life. This colony arrived, threw out their queen and slowly wasted away to be pillaged and dismembered by wasps right before my eyes. A little after the photo was taken, the bees left the queen alone and she fell off the hive. I picked her up and placed her back on the landing board knowing that this colony hadn’t had enough time to rear a new queen. A single worker bee came out and pushed her off. She fell into the grass, I lost her and it was colony suicide. I observed with confusion, a heavy dose of realism and many new and deeper questions about my relationship and responsibility as a ‘beekeeper’.
When I explored it, I was met by confusion, grief and a desire to withdraw from writing about bees. It all called (actually more shouted and screamed) for the space to be unravelled and the time to spin in the dark before I could return any work as a voice for the bees. It was a long, still winter but I now have another colony to sit with who arrived wild in a swarm last year. They came out of winter strong and finally I’ve caught up with them and can feel the energy of spring again.
Carder Bumbleebee on Phacelia sown in the apiary earlier this year – all species of bee love this plant!
Since my last post here I have moved away from an active role as co-founder of the Dartington honeybee and wild pollinator project and I’m back aligned with where I began – following the bees. I’m starting to understand that each ‘bee person’ has a unique connection with the bees that demands space and careful attention to truly listen to the needs of the bees. And as I allow the bees the freedom to be bees, I’m learning to allow myself to be fully me.
So here I find myself writing a new beginning, sitting with a colony of beautiful honeybees as I sculpt new ground alongside them, ready to share once more the many things they teach me.
Thank you for reading this – you are most welcome here x