I missed marking National Pollinator week last month, but that’s no reason not to celebrate anyway. All pollinators get a tip of the hat from me, but I particularly love bees. Perhaps it can be explained by the fact that Deborah means “bee” (or even as I was once delighted to find “Queen Bee”).
Over the years I’ve been intrigued by various obscure facts, symbolic meanings, and folklore regarding bees. For instance, the Pythia, oracle priestess, was known as the Delphic Bee. Or that the ancient Egyptian book of Am-Tuat compares the voices of souls to the hum of bees. And that Pythagoreans revered bees as sacred creatures of Aphrodite who knew how to create perfect hexagons in their honeycombs. Incidentally these very units of the honeycomb, the hexagonal cells, have walls that are only 2/1000 of an inch thick, and yet are able to support 25 times their own weight.
I couldn’t help but buzz with delight when I discovered a series of short videos by none other than Isabella Rossellini in conjunction with Burt’s Bees. Take a peek at one of them about worker bees.
The message about Colony Collapse Disorder and the importance of bees to all of us is a serious one, but isn’t the delivery fun? And I so want a bee costume of my own!
Supporting local beekeepers is indeed a worthwhile endeavor, and in Chicago we’re lucky to have a number. Worth a mention is the Chicago Honey Co-op, with its mission of sustainable agriculture, job training ad education. And I can tell you their honey is delicious. It’s a lot of fun trying different honeys – location and available flower sources make quite a difference, so I encourage you to expand your honey horizons.
I consider another Chicago treasure to be artist Bridgette Guerzon Mills. Her encaustic art, using beeswax, is wonderful. I’m lucky to own a couple of her pieces, including one entitled Woven in the Womb of the Earth. Here’s a link to her blog where she posted it, so you can take peek. Do be sure to poke around her site and see more of her lovely art.
And whenever you see a flower, be sure to say thank you to the bees. Even better, plant your own lovely garden so the bees (and butterflies) come visit and you can commune with them regularly. Isn’t that a perfect plan for summer?