Has the Bee, that mysterious oneness of love and purpose embodied in the hive, power to help us? To really help us beekeepers to “do right” by the bees, perhaps by subtly leading us ever more towards a deep appreciation of Nature, of the creative forces of the world?
So says one of my co-authors in a previous post. What, one wonders, is meant by ‘creative forces’: wind, sun, rain, the movements of tectonic plates? Or is the reference to something more subtle?
Subtle messages are encoded in much of bee life. It is all too easy to miss them. In our busy world we constantly seek the quick and simple, the ‘take home’ message. Rarely do we stand (or sit) still and spend time just watching; watching without attempting to analyze. As a dear beekeeping friend put it: this is the lost art of doing nothing. By which he meant not ‘doing nothing’ but ‘doing nothing’. There is a difference.
When we suspend the activity of our fevered thinking, when we witness without judging or categorizing, when we simply engage, we begin to see. Often we see for the first time. We see that the hive or bee that we thought was doing x is maybe not doing x at all. Maybe it is doing something entirely different. Just what it is doing is not relevant. What matters is not that we analyze but that we see. We set the intellect (and what it has read in books) to one side and rely on, and trust, our senses. Once we do this, we begin to connect at a different level, a deeper level, one unencumbered by preconception and expectation. We begin to see what is actually there rather than what we have been told is there, or we expect to be there.
The outcome is often surprising, although it may take a long time to turn it into words, to make ‘sense’ of it. It takes time because we have started to engage with the world at a level that is wordless. After all, when you think about it, the world really is wordless: things like wind, sun, rain, the movements of tectonic plates do not recognize the neat and simple boundaries of words. Only when we move beyond such boundaries can we begin to connect with the world as it truly is, rather than as we would wish to believe it is. When we do this we have taken the first small step to understanding the creative forces that underlie Nature, the world and the cosmos. Don’t be surprised if, along the way, you discover love; not the slushy sentimental type, but something far more robust, powerful and deep.
Photos: Norbert Poeplau/Natural Beekeeping Trust