Tag Archives: climate change

Beekeeping in Skirts

@beekeepinginskirts is one of my favorite instagram feeds. And these two posts made me think and seem closely connected, so here you are. Many thanks, Ariella.

by Ariella Daly

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photo: Ariella Daly
  1. LISTENING TO THE BEES

Sometimes, before I enter a hive, I listen to the hum. I press my ear again the wood, warm with the radiant heat of so many bodies, and listen. There is a rain storm of tiny feet, a low buzz, a scent. I hum back to them, in my clumsy, human attempt at grace. I still my heart.

Sometimes it is enough to be near. To fold yourself against the mystery. Sometimes I come to the hive simply to tell them about my heart: to share the story of my human experience, as they swirl around me, pollen-laden.

We creatures of story and long memory, we beg for audience. We long to hear what stirs beneath our chatter. We are looking for a way in. Perhaps that’s why the fascination with the inner cathedral of the hive. With beekeeping. With all these inspection standards and how to books and handy tools for the creatures with opposable thumbs. Perhaps all we want is a transfixed moment of gazing upon the utterly mysterious unknown. To be let in. To be filled with a brief sense of being fully undone by the fragile, fierce totality of a life made with honey and sting.

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photo: Ariella Daly

2. BECOMING THE NEKTARY

California is burning. Greece is burning. Norway is burning. England is burning. The land is hot, cracked, brittle. The veins feel feeble, dry. As a child of California, I know fire season, but not like this.

If the bees teach us of community and service, they also teach us this: we much become the nectary. We must restore the flow of nectar to the land. We must do this within our own bodies and for the Mistress of Nektars herself: the Earth. We must become the flow-er. We must re-learn how to allow ourselves full access to our senses and our expression. When we do not dam, stifle, re-route our holy flows, we transform into healing vessels of milk and honey.

We are witnessing a earth hungry for nectar. We are witnessing our society, our nations, our animals, our peoples bleed out from fresh and old wounds. But that kind of flow does not feed the land; it cracks the earth.

I constantly ask myself how to be an agent of positive change in this 11th hour? There are many answers. Some are daunting. Some are humbling. Some are downright uncomfortable and gritty. But some answers are borne of water. Some are about the nature of becoming. So today, while I do not turn my eyes away from social activism, I keep an inward gaze on what it means to become the nektary. What it means to give ourselves this gift of total self-love. To let our nektars fall like rivers down our cheeks and heal with our tears. To let the moon guide our red waters. To let cleansing sweat rise from our skin and bathe us in catharsis, dance, reclaiming, embodiment. To dare to feel our own ecstasy. To let the full expression of what we are and what we feel move FREE within us. Drip from us. Circulate.

Nek-tar. Greek in origin. “Nek” meaning “death” and “tar” meaning to “overcome, cross over”. The liquid ambrosia that overcomes death. The drink of the gods. Liqueur vitae. Fluid, flowing life.

There are many roads to healing the burning earth, and none of them can be taken if we do not free our own fluidity from the shackles of a suppressed feminine flow. Men, I mean that sacred flow inside you too. Become the rivers, my loves.

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Heat.

We need rain. Sunflowers have died in my garden, first time ever. About half, even though I’ve watered. And they’re wilting on one side of ‘my’ bit of the public zigzag garden, where I never water. Not so bad on the other side. Fingers crossed there will be some golden flowers quite soon.

sunflowers on northern side
zigzag sunflowers doing well in partial shade

I sowed beans to climb these sunflowers. I think birds ate most of the seeds. And/or beans may not co-habit well with sunflowers. But I now have three beans on a single plant (further up, the neighbouring zigzag garden has handfuls).

beans on sunflowers
two of the three bean pods

I’ll save these beans for next year’s seed.

A little patch of sorrel has survived, too. Some rain will help it expand.

sorrel with bird shit
sorrel with bird shit

And in the tomato thicket, bergamots are in flower. Some in my own garden too. But the bees haven’t found them yet.

tomato thicket

Not bad, without any watering at all? And the cocktail tomatoes are beginning to ripen.

ripe tomatoes
first tomatoes, from Megan’s compost heap volunteers

There’s lots of parsley, too. But the silver beet and the cape gooseberries (with its ripening fruit) are looking stressed.

And in my own garden, I have problems with my long-established fruit trees. I wonder whether climate change is part of this. For instance, the feijoa trees flowered very early (I removed the flowers) and have now flowered again.

Birds – for the second year in a row – are eating the immature apples. Are there shortages of their other food because of this hot weather?  Or more birds than usual? I love the tiny native birds: fantail/pīwakawaka and waxeye/ tauhou and sometimes grey warbler/ riroriro. They  dance along branches of the trees,  glean tiny bugs that I can’t see. I enjoy the exotics – blackbirds and thrushes – that go for the snails. But are they welcome to most of the apples, especially from the only tree that produces big crops? No. Nets next year.

The birds aren’t eating the pears. But – another worry – the  pears are much smaller than usual at the end of January.

pears

And so are the quinces. Same size for weeks.

quince

A big thank you to the bees that pollinated the trees. But now I have to consider how to protect the crop in other ways, next year.