When your spring and summer life revolves around bees, or rather, they revolve around you as each minutiae of their life is observed with growing delight, from the first bees sipping tiny amounts of nectar in the beautiful yellow and blue crocusses, and the joyful mass feasting on dandelion and apple blossom to the great culmination of swarming, and all the wonders that follow these great spectacles of death and new birth — Advent can spell a sense of subtle gloom, no matter how many times you have experienced going into the dark times of the year. Nothing quite prepares one for the bee-quiet time. You start missing your bees, and if you are very fortunate in being able to immerse yourself in the souls of all your fellow beekeepers, you gain a little comfort at realising that you are not alone. We bee people, whose happiness is bound up with seeing and hearing our lovely bees, and inhaling the beautiful fragrances issuing from the hives as we wander amongst them, we understand each other, knowing that we are not alone in missing the bees.

And when we reach that elusive state of equanimity and fellow feeling with all those others who are similarly “afflicted” in the sense that, at some point in their lives, the bees, the beautiful wise bees, have flown into their hearts, we can take a decision. A decision not taken lightly, and of unforeseeable consequence. More of that another time. First, equanimity in the face of the stark fact that the bees are in their hives, and all sensory enjoyment of them has ceased for a while. We all hope for a while, only.