Sunday, April 12, 2009


The bee experience so far has been utterly amazing. The class at Green Gulch Zen Center with Alan Hawkins was everything I hoped for - plenty of time looking into hives, plenty of time building frames, plenty of laughs with other bee-ginners. Shaking our bees into their new hive yesterday afternoon was super-fun, as was assisting Rebecca with shaking her bees in today.

Overall the thing I've been so struck by is the bee-mind that beekeeping requires. Like diving, the optimal physical state is one of utter calm, smooth slow and deep breathing, and that observatory frame of mind, taking in everything happening without reacting quickly. With the bee-veil over my face, I quickly drop into that undersea mind -- go quiet, slow, and calm. It's utterly restful.

I did manage to get stung yesterday - totally my fault, and I much regret the sacrifice of that one lovely bee. And what struck me the most as it was happening was -- yes, how much it freaking hurt -- that I didn't panic, I didn't move any faster, I just slowly moved away from the hive, pulled my pants down (got me in the thigh), and got the venom sac away from me.

This morning I spent about 1 1/2 hours sitting next to the hive just observing what the morning's activities would bring. I was utterly lost in bee-vision, fascinated, every sense engaged. After yoga, visiting the bees was my first order of business. After Easter dinner at the Amons, checking them for the night was the day's last To Do.

It's so delightful to be sharing space with these 10,001 remarkable organisms. They are teaching me so much already, lessons that are particularly well-timed.

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