Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Balanced Below the Hive

One of our bees, at work on a sunflower.

I’m still seeing pollen enter the hive—a good sign. The bees have been cleaning up the sugar water relatively quickly. I’ll add more tonight, but I’m hoping that I’ll see more comb being drawn out on frames when we open the hive on Sunday.

Wanting to see into the hive without disturbing the hive, I get on the ground and stretch out flat on my back with my head resting beneath the hive. I glance across the yard, hoping my neighbor doesn’t see me, as she might be alarmed to see me prone on the ground by my beehive. But an overgrowth of tomato plants and zinnias rise between us and I'm glad she can't see me and wonder about her strange neighbor. 

Looking up from beneath the hive.
Because hive boxes have no top or bottom, and the frames hang inside like files in a cabinet, you can see into the hive from beneath. First, you see a screened “bottom board” that allows for ventilation but keeps critters out of the hive. Just about a half inch above the screen, you can see the bottom edges of the frames.

I settle in, my legs stretched out and ankles crossed. My awareness of the outside world shrinks to just the space between my eyes and the hive, which is about a foot above my gaze. I can see what looks like discarded larvae on the screen as housekeeping bees occasionally pulled it toward the hive opening. Bees walk back and forth, up into the frames, over the wax, and busily doing what bees do. From the bottom, it still doesn’t look like they are building on the new frames, though could be that I just can’t see their progress since they start at the top of a frame and build comb down.

From my vantage point beneath the hive, I feel a settling sense of peace. How strange to feel so relaxed and peaceful with a large number of stinging insects suspended above me.

We are often separated from wildness in a way that lessens our lives as humans. In an interview with writer David Kupfer, poet Terry Tempest Williams said of the often distanced relationship between humans and wildlife:

We become disconnected, we lose our center point of gravity, that stillness that allows us to listen to life on a deeper level and to meet each other in a fully authentic and present way.”

And perhaps that is what I find there, beneath the bees—a center point of gravity. I regain my footing in the hum of the bees. I’m an observer, and these small winged beings encourage stillness in their presence.

I don’t spend as much time beneath the hive as I would like to. I need to water the garden and check on the hens. Dinner is yet to be made, and there is always work to be done. Reluctantly, I leave bee-viewing for the night, but I do so feeling greater equilibrium, as if the hum of bees has calibrated the balance in my bones.

1 comment:

  1. Nominated you for a blog award. I always enjoy "visiting" your backyard. It's like a chain letter, sorta. http://hearthtobelovely.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/liebster-hey-i-got-a-blog-award/