Friday, December 26, 2008

Wondering, with an Edge

I'm worried about my bees. We are having a real winter again, the first bona fide since I began beekeeping. I am concerned about the cold. About the wind, which blows fierce down on the farm. About the wetness. I think about them daily, and wish for their success. The deep snow is a boon, in that it helps insulate the hives by blocking that infernal wind.

I want so much to have my bees closer at hand. I had a lead on a St. Paul site, but the laptop that held that correspondence has gone to the great cider press in the sky, and I haven't got the home owner's information elsewhere. I am hoping that in 2009, we will have a home where I can keep them, or that I can find a nearby site that will welcome them....

Winter for Northern beekeepers can be time of anxiety - imagining that at a given moment, the bees may be dying, too far from food, and starving in a hive containing 200 pounds of rich nutritious honey. That they may be drowning in condensate from their own respiration. That the hive covers have blown off and varmints are raiding the equipment for bees, wax and honey. That they have broken cluster and frozen.

My favorite winter day is no longer Solstice, or Christmas or New Year's or the day I leave for a warm weather vacation. My favorite winter day is the one that hits 45 degrees, when I can rush down to the hives, remove the outer cover, pry up the inner cover and take in the gush of warm, sweet air. Their faces rise to mine, questioning whether mine is the sun. I blush, and assure then that no, I am not their sun, and that they have more quiet rest ahead. Then I lay down a large quantity of sugar on parchment for them, lay down the inner cover, and replace the outer cover. It feels like spreading warm blankets over a beloved child. Giving care, giving warmth, giving affection. The bees, of course, are indifferent to me, and the affection I feel for these appealing insects cannot approximate the love I have for those children I have tucked into their beds, but there is strong emotion there, nevertheless. There is gratitude for the lessons in living and in science. There is hope for the survival of their kind and of mine. There is affection for them and their dutiful, exuberant lives. There is love and appreciation for the way everything works together, physically, metaphysically and aesthetically. I am most blessed by my bees, and I hope to do well by them in 2009.

1 comment:

twinsetellen said...

I love the image of you as the bees' sun, even if it isn't technically true.