The Way of the Bees

People sometimes ask me why I don’t write more about events in the big wide world. Why do I stop most of my commentary when I reach the garden gate?

While the tiny world of this garden is a place of much hope and beauty, I often find the world beyond here a painful and confusing place. To be honest, I don’t know what to say about most of it, except to growl and that would get quite tiresome for you.

I try in each moment of my day to be as loving as I can be. Out in the world this sometimes leads people to think a village idiot is on the loose. Back here, I can see it makes a difference. And I am truly content with the small scale of my efforts. In keeping with my general mood of subdued ambition, I just want get on with uncomplicated loving these days. Nothing too big or splashy. I am no longer looking for that headline “Molly Sheehan Ends Nuclear Arms Race.”

This spring, when I lost more overwintered honeybees than I expected, I sat with the remaining hives in a puddle of despair. The Angels and the bees told me that the losses were a problem of the macrocosm, not the microcosm. They told me that there was nothing I could have done. They asked me to let it go. There was no request to continue my handwringing, just a request to keep on being happy. I found this startling. All over the country honeybees are dying, but they want me to be of good cheer and carry on. They exhorted me to, “Just go out and plant your garden with your same joy as usual.”

There was no hiding from the stark realities of the world in this request. These bees talked to me while I took apart the hives of dead bees. It wasn’t called Green HOPE Farm by a bunch of Angels for nothing. With this crew, hope isn’t some passing fancy, but an eternal verity.

As I bottled “Don’t Worry-Bee Happy” this week, I discovered a honeybee was sitting on my head, helping me bottle. She only dropped to the counter to get released outside when the last bottle was capped. As I returned her to her hive, once again I felt a bit muddled about the honeybees’ exhortation to bee happy amidst the problems of the macrocosm.

I decided to stroll down to the eastern side of the property to check out the newly blossoming Plums and look how the bee population seemed to be doing, this being a good litmus test for local bee populations. I found the trees to be wildly abuzz. The Plums were awash in bees of all sorts, plum bees, honeybees, and more bumblebees than I had ever seen, all of them frollicking in the heavily Flowering branches. Their ecstasy joined the perfume of the blossoms to sweep me into a state of simple happiness. I lay in the grass and looked up.


How simple. if not always easy is this way of the bees. Love the microcosm, joyfully get on with our small caretaking roles in our microcosms and the macrocosm will take care of itself. If each of us does this, how swiftly we could right this tilting planet.


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