The Existential Pleasures of Beekeeping

9 Apr

The world is filled with postures of certainty, like a well-honed consumer behavior study or the latest microeconomic manifesto. And that, my friends, is why I keep bees.

I keep bees for the pure moments of surprise, doubt, and confusion that inevitably arise when I least expect them…

  • When the burgeoning hive that towers like a honey-filled monster in my backyard disappears without a trace while I’m in Sweden.
  • When the walkaway split that I created like a reckless cowgirl manages to A) raise a queen; B) mate the queen; C) return the queen before her sisters revolt; and D) grow a new generation in time for winter.
  • When the perfect hive succumbs like a midnight victim to varroa.
  • When the underdog colony I presumed dead in March turns out to be jammed full of bees and blasting into summer.

I keep bees for the magic of utterly unexpected moments filled with challenge and hope; disappointment and glittering joy. I keep bees for all that I could never hope to control.

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7 Responses to “The Existential Pleasures of Beekeeping”

  1. Ron Warnick April 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm #

    An older fellow I know in rural Oklahoma warned me of this — that you’ll never stop learning about bees, and you’ll never figure them out completely. He told me of seemingly doomed colonies that weren’t any bigger than a closed fist that survived the winter and thrived when spring came around.

  2. anamericanindublin April 10, 2012 at 12:24 am #

    I couldn’t agree more.

  3. mistress beek April 10, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks for weighing in, chaps. Sounds like a bit of unpredictability suits you as well. Here’s to another season of unknown!

  4. Fiona May 24, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    My partner and I got hives just last Sunday. And we’re in love already. I just discovered your blog and am having such pleasure reading through it. Thank you!

    • mistress beek May 24, 2012 at 10:50 am #

      Hi Fiona, congrats on your first hive! And fair warning: beekeeping is a hard habit to break. Thanks for stopping by. Keep me posted on your progress.

      • Fiona May 24, 2012 at 10:53 am #

        We go down to the girls every morning and evening and just watch them coming in and out, talking with one another, bringing back pollen. It’s mesmerizing! I’m less than a week in and I don’t think I could break it, even now. Our girls are amazing. I just hope we can learn everything we need to before anything untoward happens!

        Thank you again!

  5. mistress beek May 24, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    How beautiful for you. Sounds like you’re enjoying it fully.

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