Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bees Can Teach Us About Strong Community

"There is no single bee – as there is no single human being. It’s a product of a limited world view. The single bee is only one individual part of the bigger entity of the entire bee hive....This can serve as a beautiful metaphor or mirror for our own existence: That we are just one individual part of a bigger entity: The earth’s ecosystem and the entire universe." - From

I took my first beekeeping class this morning. I've been stung by bee fever! I hope to get a hive next spring, spending the year learning more about bee guardianship, figuring out where to put my top bar hive, and reading reading reading all I can get my hands on.

At the same time, a group of friends and I are ready to take real steps towards a homeschooling community center. In the next month we will start writing our non-profit document and making it real.

I'm working with another group of people to get chickens legal in Aurora, Colorado.

It occurred to me the other day that all these projects express the energy of building strong
community. Bees are all about community. We all know a hive to be the quintessential community, with the queen, workers and drones each fulfilling their purpose being - ahem - busy bees. But honey bees and other pollinators also teach us about the health of our own human communities. We've seen this recently with hive collapse and other bee diseases that have been created by humanity's obsession with monetary wealth. Monsanto and Bayer focus so exclusively on making more money that they are not considering the health of bees, the soil, water, or people, and bee colonies are suffering. Climate change is causing or contributing to droughts around the world that is making bee keeping near impossible. Without water, you can't have bees. This is a global phenomenon affecting the price of honey, small business, and large commercial beekeepers. Then there is the way we grow food in most industrialized nations, namely in monocrops like acres and acres of only almond trees. In a normal ecosystem, there would be other flowers providing bees with nectar throughout the year, and bees wouldn't have to be trucked around (the process of which kills millions of bees each year) to follow the flowers. Our money-obsessed and "efficiency" obsessed society has created a culture of insanity, and the bees cannot or will not put up with it.

I wrote a blog post a while back about how backyard chicken ownership helps build strong communities. And homeschooling is, despite the stereotype, very much about community.

So I'm sitting with this energy of community, and contemplating how humanity (at least in industrialized nations) is having to rethink what community means to us. For many people it no longer means the local church of your chosen denomination, the office, and the neighborhood school. Or if your community does include one or more of these, I would guess that there is some aspect of those communities that are stretching or which you question. You don't have to be a homesteading hippie to be part of this shift, either. Our fears about safety in schools, the debate about same-sex marriage, a Jesuit pope, Facebook, and working from home are all examples of how the idea of community is evolving.

I wonder how bees might teach us about community. Not just in an old-school way, where each has her own place in the hive and it's all about the safety of the hive, but in an evolving way, involving sacred geometry, transformation, and the dialectic of hive versus individual. As we humans evolve, let us call on these higher levels of hive expression as guides. And let us not forget to hum as we create a new world!

No comments: