Meaningful Being


I was tasked with the job of organizing the kitchenette in the office at my internship today. It’s not the most “production” related task I’ve ever been given, but I didn’t mind. Organizing stuff is definitely in my wheelhouse. I’m not too proud to organize kitchen cupboards. Besides, producing is nothing if not the application of order upon chaos.

So I was taking a load of trash out to the dumpster. On my way across the parking lot I happened to glance at the ground and I noticed a honeybee on the asphalt. It didn’t move as I watched. I was careful to step over it- her, I reminded myself- worker bees are female and the bees who leave the hive are worker bees.  I had read somewhere that worker bees aren’t “raised” to do different roles within the hive: there aren’t worker bees dedicated to tending eggs and different worker bees dedicated to making honey and different worker bees venturing out into the world in search of pollen. Instead, a single worker bee will play all these roles within her lifespan: and it is the older bees that go out into the wider world.

On my way back from the dumpster I stooped to take a closer look. Ever since learning about the life-stages of honey bees, I’ve found myself feeling extra sympathetic towards the ones that I encounter in the wild. It certainly seems like they should have earned the respect. I make an effort to not swat at them and if they seem to be a little sluggish or stranded I’ll sometimes try to help them out of harm’s way.

Sitting on the asphalt In the middle of a parking lot certainly seemed like harm’s way to me. But the bee didn’t need my help. I prodded her gently but she didn’t so much as twitch a wing.

The bee was dead.

I wish that I could say that this story has a point, but if it does have one then I haven’t figured it out yet: maybe that we lives work our whole lives for a community, but in the end we go back out in the world only ultimately will die alone in the middle of an asphalt wasteland with a big galoot poking at us to see if we’re really dead… but I hope not. The encounter felt like it had more meaning than that.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 29, 2015.

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