Busy as Bees

honeybee

The property is fairly swarming with activity — in more ways than one! Not only has construction finally commenced, the air abuzz with the sounds of chain saw and giant chipper, backhoe and generator, but a swarm of bees showed up, as if in blessing. In the quiet moments, as machinery paused between tasks, the humming drone of the colony looking for a new place to set up housekeeping thrummed to fill the void, thousands of tiny bodies in communion, and I was thrilled to think that they might settle in at Acorn Lodge.

My friend Helen wrote to me recently and reminded me that I had not posted anything here for a while. As consumed as I’ve been, working to make decisions regarding materials for construction and the finishes within, I didn’t feel I had anything particularly noteworthy to commit to this space: I was, and am, thoroughly enjoying the process of designing our next (and hopefully, last) abode, but I’m also aware that probably no one else particularly cares about the myriad details (“Who will want to read this?!?”). Besides the which, I’ve been busy.

Bees are busy: collecting pollen, making honey, caring for their young, grooming the queen, and swarming when the time is right. But busy as they are, it is worth noting that every one of these activities is reliant upon good communication, a remarkable talent of honeybees — without it, the colony is doomed. Helen was actually home sick when she wrote, taking a day off of work and finally catching up with correspondence, and noting that she “can see the advantages of not working . . .” full time. Keeping in touch with even very good friends becomes a challenge when days are (overly) full, and yet the value of nurturing relationships in our lives cannot be overstated: we need, too, to be in communion regularly with those we hold dear.

The swarm remained on the property for almost a week. Neither the roots nor trunk of the Douglas fir they had descended upon held any possibility of offering shelter for the colony, but rather provided a good resting place along the way to their intended destination. Eventually the swarm followed the scent the scout bees had laid down by way of communication and settled into the new hive space that will sustain the colony for more of the busyness for which bees are famous. I’m sorry not to know where they are now, but grateful that their example will remain with me: busyness needs to be balanced with communion, ‘doing’ tempered by healthy doses of ‘being,’ especially in the company of those whom we love.

“Are you a human doing or a human being?”

Swarm
The swarm — April 2015

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