I was sitting in my garden after my day at work yesterday, watching the honey bees work the rosemary bushes. Watching the bees is something I’ve done for years–I think it started when I was on staff at a very large church, and I would come home on my lunch hour and allow myself to be absorbed into their bright and pollen-y world until it was time to go back to work. Watching their furry, small bodies dusted with pollen and listening to their steady humming somehow soothed and absolved my mind of the morning’s stresses, readying me for whatever the afternoon would bring.
I love the bees, and my gardens are full of things planted specifically for them—tons of rosemary, catmint and lavender—and even a few things that don’t really excite me, like delphinium—just so I can help feed them. Bumblebees are exceptionally fond of delphiniums.
This year, I’m planning on planting fewer things in the vegetable garden and giving more space over to bee and butterfly fodder. My original plan in doing so was to lighten my late-summer workload—I’m so busy in the winery then that I haven’t had time to harvest and care for all of the produce comes from my small plot. But now my intent is two-fold—it’s not just about making less work for me, but about making MORE for the bees!
So yesterday, as I sat immersed in the rosemary-blue world of the bees, I remembered a conversation with a co-worker earlier in the day, whose husband is a beekeeper. She told me that thirty-seven of his forty hives had died. Thirty seven! And his are not the only ones! If you’ve read the news at all in the past few years, you know that we are seeing bees die off and bee colonies collapse at rate that should greatly alarm us.
Watching the bees moving between the tiny flowers, the thought suddenly burst into my head that I have never prayed for them—prayers specifically offered up for the little pollinators of our entire world!
And because I am a person of faith (alas, not always as faithful as I might be) who does pray, I did just that. Right in that moment, while the thought was fresh in my mind and on my heart.
I prayed because the plight of the bees is real; because it impacts EVERY HUMAN ON THIS PLANET! Not just me, not just the bees, and not just the beekeepers, but every single one of us. We cannot survive without them.
0 bees=0 food=0 humans. It’s a simple equation.
And while I cannot come up with a cure for whatever is causing the bees to die, I CAN create more food for them and help the ones we have to be healthy. And, I can pray for them, and for the collective wisdom of those who are called to steward our planet—that’s all of us!
Maybe you could join me in helping them—if you’re not someone who prays, could you plant a few extra flowers for the bees? Could you be oh-so-very-careful in your use of chemicals in your yard and garden—perhaps even re-thinking whether you need to use chemical pesticides and herbicides?
If you’re afraid of all bees, killing them whenever you see them, could you learn to differentiate the non-aggressive honeybees and furry bumbles from the more vicious (and voracious) yellow jacket wasps?
All of these things are easy to research online. Type in ‘bee-friendly gardens’ and see what you discover! Maybe you might even want to take part in “The Great Sunflower Project” this summer, because who doesn’t need more sunflowers beaming at them !
Lovely little bees … I can’t cook without them.
Honeybees working in the zucchini blossoms
We can’t live without them.
Have a glorious day, and as always, I appreciate your visiting and reading.