THERE IS NO BEE, THERE IS NO BEEKEEPER

by Debra Roberts on February 13, 2019

You’re clutching with both hands
to this myth of “you” and ”I”
Our whole brokenness is because of this
(Jalal al-Din Rumi)

Imbolc has just passed. A cross-quarter day, also known as Groundhog Day, tucked in between the winter solstice and spring equinox. The day that Joe and I begin to celebrate spring. More winter lies ahead, but the seeds are stirring in the soil.

I will be traveling again this year. Stepping back out onto the Good Bee Road after a few years of staying close to home and hive … rebuilding and resettling after the house fire in 2016. In many ways, I have been on retreat. Silence has become a more intimate companion. So many words and ideas have slipped away into the compost, including some of my own good ideas about how to abide with the bees and what they need. I have come to cherish how little I know.

Amidst the chop wood, carry water seemingly infinite tasks needed to create a new nest, I had even more time with the bees. I discovered other colors of pollen, from pastel to neon, and was astonished to discover that some honeybees exit their hive flying backwards. (How had I never noticed that before?) I laid down in the bee sanctuary, soothed by the smell of new comb and the thrumming humming bee-song soundscape. I read poetry to them (a favorite by Yunus Emre, Come, see what love has done to me) and played them Karsilama and Masmoodi on my frame drum. I shared stories and brought the news … and I emptied my mind to hear theirs. I wept over the death of friends, including bees, and some of the great sorrowing in the world. I marveled as these mistresses of alchemy transmuted the precious nectar of thousands of flowers from the gardens, fields and forest into honey and also wax, the sacred sacraments of the hive.

And sometimes, by grace, a singularly illuminating moment would come along … like one fragrant afternoon last summer when a forager landed on my hand. She rested a while, her tiny abdomen heaving from the pollen load, before returning to the colony above us. I wept to know my hand was safe harbor. In that sacred bee time-infused moment, all Otherness dissolved. I felt gloriously undifferentiated from all of life … no veils, no seams, no borders, no edges, no species, no me and non-me, no bee and no beekeeper. Everything was suffused with a deeply tap-rooted, familial and familiar connectedness. In this holy-rolling zone of revelation, presence and love, I remembered my place in the divine matrix of wisdom I share with the honeybees and all life. The intelligence that moves the whole universe of bees along, also moved through me. It was here in the bee sanctuary, beside our burnt then rebuilt home, where I lost my heart and found another bigger one amongst the ripe honeycombs.

I return to Turkey this spring. Mama Anatolia has long had my heart … and my heart is full. In our region, the bees are really struggling. We had sixty to eighty percent colony losses last winter. And the number of casualties already reported in this early new year is breaking my heart. When people ask me what I think is going on with the bees, I could answer: pesticides (and other ides), the use of Roundup and dicamba, neonic seeds, and compromised genetics. And there is still a strong chorus of beekeepers that shout Varroa! as a primary source of bee ills. But for me, all these challenges point back to many poor (to terrible) human choices and decisions … to our tendency to sleepwalk and forget our fellow family on this precious Mother of an earth. It is in this deeper field that I have set up camp. Some different quality of presence and listening is unequivocally required of me and I am determined to pay attention.

I do not want to save the bees; I want to wake up. I am not asking them to stay; I am deepening my practices and capacity to be conscious and respectful, so they might be persuaded from leaving and thrive in that choice. I remain planted at the feet of the Bee Nation … robust, sentient ambassadors of life who were here millions of years before I was born. A truly venerable first First Nations people.

These last few years off the radar have been very unburdening. A profound stillness is seeping into the fertile soil of me. Like the seeds that hang their hats in the quiet earth before emerging as the plants they will become, I too am swimming in becomingness. My journey is about love. My Journey Is About Love. My life is distilling down to that invitation … and really to that one word. Love.

May we be awake, aware and loving.
May we extend our hand to all of life in a kind way and a different kind of way.
May we bloom in the soil of our soul no matter the weather of these times.
May we live as if love matters.
May all bees be well.
May all beings be well.

Blessed be. Blessed bees.
Debra

PS This one’s for you Vicki Ghost Horse … and you Michael Thiele. And always you, Joe Roberts.

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Bhramari Dasi February 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm

As always…..words that both speak to and speak for my heart. <3

Reply

Debra Roberts February 14, 2019 at 1:59 pm

Ah this river runs both way dear friend. You are such an epicenter of great heart.

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Teresa LA Condesa February 14, 2019 at 12:55 am

You are the divine matrix of love and much more. Bless you n thank you, for the worss, the ryhtms the space and yes the big big Love.?

Reply

Debra Roberts February 14, 2019 at 1:58 pm

Hello beloved Teresa, thank you for your beautiful message, oh center of all things Divine yourself. <3

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Ellen February 14, 2019 at 11:02 am

Thank you. Until recently this would not have made sense to me, but as I read it I felt a deep resonance. Thank you, again.

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Debra Roberts February 14, 2019 at 1:57 pm

And many blessings to you, Ellen. Thank you so much for your message.

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Sheetal February 16, 2019 at 3:23 am

Dear Debra,
Your journey is truly a journey of love. Am so grateful that for a few brief moments in this vast expanse of space and time, like the bee in your story I too have rested in your presence.

Love,
Sheetal

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Debra Roberts February 16, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Thank you so much beloved Sheetal. Your words land like honey in my day. The feeling and experience is utterly mutual. Love and blessings, Debra

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