Some years ago, we raised bees. It didn’t become a permanent thing because it turned out to be way more complex than we’d imagined. But that very complexity — and the fascinating bees themselves — made a lasting imprint on me.
For instance, I learned that some people can naturally handle bees without getting stung. And others had better watch out. They’d better use netting and smoke and still be careful. We had one son who was the former kind of beekeeper. He could do just about anything without upsetting the bees. When I asked him what his secret was, he just shrugged and said he didn’t know.
We loved producing our own honey. We sucked at keeping bees alive over the winter. We didn’t have the latest equipment to get the honey from the combs so it was a lot of work. And we never forgot our experiences raising bees.
Once we saw bees swarm. We thought it was our hives until we checked and they were all where they should be, which meant it was a wild swarm. We followed them through our property, in and out of trees and across the fields. We wondered if they were considering any of the trees on our property as a future home. But they reached our property line and kept going. We never knew where they ended up but I always wondered.
The life of a bee seems so dramatic. It involves fierce allegiance to a queen and splinter factions when some of the hive split off and follow a new queen to a new country. I’m sure there are factions and intrigue involved in the decisions and perhaps wars as the two group separate.
It would make for a pretty epic movie. Or novel. I’d like to write it some day. I’d call it ‘The Life of A Queen.’