Bee Work


I’m reading about bees.

The Curmudgeonly Lion and I had gone downtown and parked beneath the central library so I’d suggested that we stop in with the only-slightly-ulterior motive of picking up a book that I’d been wanting to read and that wasn’t available at our local branch. It was not the book about bees. The book about bees just happened to catch my eye from a shelf nearby. Also a book about cheeses of the world. Also a novel that a friend had recommended.

I’m a bit of a menace when it comes to the library.

Me being me, I naturally started reading the novel first: “Fatherland” by Robert Harris- a murder mystery set in an alternate timeline in which Germany won World War II. And while I was enjoying the story and would have liked to bring the book with me to read on the bus, the cover was emblazoned with an ENORMOUS swastika, which, I felt, might send the wrong message to my fellow commuters.

So I picked the bee book instead. “The Keeper of the Bees: Notes on Hive and Home” by Allison Wallace. It was the smallest of the books that I’d checked out. I hoped it would also be the lightest. It’s easy reading, if you don’t mind a writing style that tends towards the poetic and occasionally waxes philosophical about The Meaning Of Things. Which, of course, suits me just fine.

Considering my recent mental struggle with clutter and housekeeping and the endless, unfinished list of small tasks, I found it pointedly funny that the very first chapter describes the work of bees as small, endless, and seemingly futile. One bee’s life might not amount to much more than a drop of honey or a crumb of wax, and that the bee herself wouldn’t even live a full year, and yet…

And yet…

I mean, I realize that the absolute unit of beehood is the hive, not the individual bee, but as a human I’m inclined to think that my individuality has value. I don’t live shoulder-to-shoulder with ten thousand like minded sisters already programmed to work together. I have enough trouble living in the same house as a cat. Much less keeping that house clean. With a cat. Who vomits. Regularly. So I still struggle with pointless work, no matter how necessary. But I’m trying to incorporate just a little bit more “bee work” into my daily routine. A little bit every day. As best that I can. And trying to not worry about the whole list at once.

So far, so good.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on March 15, 2019.

3 Responses to “Bee Work”

  1. Hi. Great post. I wonder whether the cover designers and publishers ever thought twice about the “Fatherland” design?

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