The bees are dying and I am sad, but nobody seems to care.
Queens are suffocating. Worker bees are vanishing. My teachers are hurting; their hives are infested with pesticides that we keep spraying. They call it Colony Collapse Disorder, when really it’s Man’s Priorities Out-of-Order.
I am man and I am better than this. I write to tell you, Mother, that this is not OKAY, that this is not what I stand for.
I tell a coworker, “The bees are dying.”
“Eh,” she shrugs as if there is no use crying, “It’s been happening for years.”
Then she continues to spray Clorox on her desk as another coworker appears over the mist: “That’s nothing,” this one complains, “What about what they are doing to our food, the chemicals they are putting in it.”
Her nose twitches as she inhales part of the problem.
I hate the way she stresses the word “they”, pushing responsibility and blame far away from her, as if she too isn’t a part of the problem. I feel exhausted. I watch the other lady’s hand wipe circles round and round, like smoke rings from the sacred fire. I am beginning to understand why the bees need to expire.
My head starts to buzz. Mother, I can hear the rattle of your cough struggling against the cavity of your being for release, for clean air, for a chance to speak.
“It’s not the Strongest of the Fittest but the Strongest of the Most Harmonious…” Elder Mike’s voice swirls through my head.
I retreat to my desk. In the corner, my bottle of Clorox stares back at me. Am I just one big hypocrite? I wonder feeling ashamed. I shake my head remembering what you said, “Let the bees and the butterflies guide you, they will be your teachers.” How will I learn my lessons, Mother, if I keep killing off my teachers?
The buzz intensifies swirling up memories revitalized.
I retreat to my cube remembering the summer Mr. Bumble Bee scared me. Every day he’d appeared by my side, either swarming through my thighs or hovering around my head. He was big, furry and yellow, a stranger and a threat. At the sight of him, I’d nervously freeze or flail my arms about pleading for him to go away, for him to let me be. But he kept buzzing at my knees. Until one day Mr. Bumble Bee swopped in from behind. I jumped out of my seat spilling my drink over the front of my pleat. Across the porch, my father laughed at my spectacle.
“Not funny Dad, that thing has been following me all summer!” I squealed.
“Silly girl, those bees don’t have stingers. You are pissing your pants about nothing.”
I looked back at Mr. Bumble Bee with new eyes. He flapped his wings happy I finally realized I was meant to listen. As he buzzed along I marveled at the revelation wrapped in his song: Many fears are pre-conditioned, rooted in the soil of misguided information.
The bees are dying, and I am crying because I am craving sweet honey that never goes bad.
Mother, I read The Secret Lives of Bees last year for class. I learned about healthy hives that thrive when the queen bees are nourished, respected and loved. Imagine if our species started listening to the bees and we treated our women like honey making goddesses. How different the quality of our love-making could be.
Buzzing a song,
A Warrior Princess