Tuesday, March 26, 2013

keeping and sharing


We are still waiting on our bees.  Apparently the spring has been slow to come to the south, where we ordered our two packages of Russian honeybees from.

And this year, due to our entry into the beekeeping world, I am noticing even more than usual the emergence of Spring here, with the light green tinge that the trees take on as the leaf buds emerge and the blossoming bulb flowers and forsythia and just this weekend, the dandelions, begin to open.

We have two forsythia bushes just outside a picture window in our family room.  The other day, I noticed...activity...flying between and around the bushes.  I looked more closely and realized, that despite my weeks of beekeeping school and the seven beekeeping books that lie upon my nightstand these days...because I am following my cousin the beekeeper's advice:

Read lots of beekeeping books.  Then read them again.

That this activity, this movement, was bees!

But despite this self-education system, it took me a few minutes to actual believe that those were bees outside my picture window.  They somehow seemed too small, too uncolored, too, I don't know, unbelievable.

And really difficult to capture on camera.

You know how when you are learning about something new you start to notice things related to that topic everywhere?  The other day I was out walking with Nicholas and we noticed bee boxes in the backyard of a house just up the street from us.  And when Elliott and I took an early spring walk in the conservation land's trails a few weeks ago we spied a good sized bee yard backing up on all that urban foraging goodness.

We were at friend's for brunch last weekend and our friend asked us if we knew anything about a new beekeeping business in the city, the same place I had quietly taken my beekeeping classes for the past month or so.

We are not alone.  And the amazing thing about bees is that, unlike the plants we are putting in as we try to patiently wait for our own pollinators, they do not stay in your yard.  They are going to be foraging here, but also anywhere that they find sustenance within a 3 mile radius.

I am mindful of just what this means.  Here in an urban environment with a small area to fill with forage for them, they are going to look elsewhere, find things more attractive, or in better supply when what we have here runs thin.  And we will not be able to control what they find, what they experience, whether what they bring back to their hive boxes here is healthy, infused with pesticides or other things that might harm them, or change them in ways we would not have chosen.  We hope that on her one trip out into the world, our queen finds her drone, and not a hungry bird.

And this morning, with my three children off at school, I am thinking about how this is not all that different from parenting children.

They naturally move outward.  They desire to move outward, there is goodness out there.  Lots of it.  They get out there what we cannot provide here.  Friendships and amazing educators and grownups and experiences and activities.  And we have to trust that as they bring these things back and layer their foraging into their minds, the gain is worth the risk.

Oh.  I know it is.  But just as I wish for a kinder gentler more sustainable world for my children to see in these delicate years, I wish for the same for my soon to be bees.  And I will tend here for my own, and for those of my three mile radius neighbors.

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