As many of you know, I like quoting Wendell Berry and I think he is very pro-bee.
“The word agriculture,” Wendell Berry writes in The Unsettling of America. “After all, does not mean ‘agriscience,’ much less ‘agribusiness’. It means ‘cultivation of the land.’ And cultivation is at the root of the sense both of culture and cult. The ideas of tillage and worship are joined in culture. And these words all come from an Indo-European root meaning both ‘to revolve’ and ‘to dwell’. To live, to survive on the Earth, to care for the soil, and to worship, are all bound at the root to the idea of a cycle.”
Bees network with flowers and with the hive. This network creates better plants, better harvests. The better plants wither and die, turning into better soil. The soil then houses better plants. The cycle continues. The bees network seeks to co-operate with the local good and make it better; if the bees were ever to rob, exploit, cut-off, or steal then the honey would be threatened.
“If we corrupt agriculture we corrupt culture,” Wendell Berry adds. “For in nature and within certain invariable social necessities we are one body, and what afflicts the hand will afflict the brain.”
A network of bees-when doing what is good- will bring good to the neighbourhood, the land.
A friend of mine once borrowed her teenage sons’ car and it smelled like a sick boy’s locker room. When the boy came home, she insisted on why he never cleaned it. He insisted he did but there was another reason for the smell. A quiet fellow, he simply apologized and went to his room.
The next day, she saw her son driving out of his school and she unintentionally followed him home (you do this, at times, as a parent of a teenager). She watched him make several stops, all to people who were digging in trash cans along the way. Her son would go in the back of his car and offer bags of recycled bottles (Or “empties” as we call them in Alberta) to these folks. He would talk to them, listen, and in one case, he prayed with them.
When they both got at home, she confronted him and he confessed that he was collecting all of the recycles from his church, school, and work for the purpose of getting to know the homeless population of his neighbourhood. “They’re invisible,” he said. “And I think it’s best for everyone if they weren’t.”
Her son was acting like a bee.