“Your deepest roots are in nature. No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation.” –Charles Cook
Honey is one of the most divine substances on the planet. It has been used medicinally for as long as recorded history and has been found in Egyptian tombs after thousands of years still ready to eat.
It takes about 60,000 bees, collectively traveling up to 55,000 miles and visiting more than 2 million flowers, to gather enough nectar to make one pound of honey. And while the bees are collecting the nectar, which is essentially light in its purest form, they are pollinating all of the foods we take for granted. Honey bees are perhaps the most procreative force on the planet.
Honey bees are considered a super organism; over 60,000 strong, they cannot survive for long without their hive, yet, they are able to accomplish amazing works through their profound division of labor, complex communication systems and high levels of cooperation.
As such, honey bees are perhaps one of the most unusual and miraculous creations of evolution on the planet. It is not widely known that honey bees are the 3rd most valuable and important domestic animal in Europe and the USA, not because of honey and wax production, but rather due to their invaluable contribution to the pollination and fertilization of crops, fruit trees and vast extent of bio-diversity of wild flowers.
Einstein is often attributed to the quote, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live. No more bees, no more pollination … no more men!” Although the attribution to Einstein is questioned, the meaning is not. The survival of honey bees and other pollinators is one of the most significant problems of our time. Everyone should want to become a beekeeper. Since we lost our first two hives of bees to a very harsh winter, I have been ruminating over the bee situation.
In China this year, they had to pay people to pollinate their fruit trees by hand. And the California mono-culture almond farmers are not getting the message either. Rather than adding biodiversity for the sake of the bees, almond farming is expanding. This year’s crop required over 1.6 million honey bee hives, representing over 60% of all raised bees to maintain their massive pollination efforts. The beehives are dying at unprecedented rates as the cocktails of pesticides that are now being used are destroying these precious colonies.
We just replaced the bee hives that failed for our 31st anniversary and I am grateful to see the bees buzzing around my garden again. Although it isn’t much, I feel like I am making a small difference for the plight of the honey bees and at least paying attention to the real problems we all share. Even if you can’t add honeybees to your life, go out of your way to surround yourself with some amazing honey. Celebrate and connect to the most natural loving sweetness there is- that alone will heal.