With uncomfortably hot temps and then an excessive amount of rain last week, there wasn’t much outdoor time for me. I had to do faux gardening by putting together images in a junk journal, and I did most of my bee-watching through reading.
I’m filing my next entry in the 100 Untimed Books challenge under prompt #43 – Honey.
Laline Paull’s fantasy novel The Bees is set within a hive, and her characters are the bees. One bee, designated Flora 717, is an unlikely creature. Born in the lowest caste, a sanitation worker, she doesn’t quite fit in as a silent, mostly invisible worker. She’s bigger and considered incredibly ugly; but she’s also a fast learner and she can speak, which none in her group can do. She manages to attract the attention of one of the hive’s priestess bees, and through a combination of luck, skill, and courage, as well as unwelcome interference by others, finds herself assigned to different jobs. Hive mind requires compliance to the rule “Accept, Obey, Serve” and Flora 717 does, except until the something incredible happens, she commits a crime, and then must live a double life trying not to be discovered. No spoilers here – you’ll have to read the book if you want to know what happens.
But I will say this is as much parable as novel, and I genuinely loved the peek into the author’s ideas of what hive life might be like.
In keeping with my practice of awarding a rating based on floriography, the language of flowers, giving a hint at the plot as well as my appraisal, I would offer a field of flowers for the bees to gather nectar and pollen from. The garden would include wax myrtle (discipline, instruction, duty); monkshead (danger is near); garlic scapes (courage); and a huge patch of bee balm (irresistible).
Thinking about bees and community, I can’t resist sharing this image with you. It’s a vintage photo that’s been made into a rubber stamp and I adore it. I keep it propped up on my work table so I can look at it often, and I love imagining stories about these little girls in costumes. Aren’t they fabulous? I can even imagine myself as the little bee on the bottom right standing on one leg. One of the few photos of me as a child is standing like that, so it looks like I have only one leg. Perhaps that IS bee-me, experiencing some sort of time travel magic. Who knows?
What do you think? Don’t you wish you had a bee costume? Have a wonderful bee story to share? Love honey? Do tell – you know I love to hear.