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Rainy April morning . . .

Today, I had so much planned. I wanted to transplant kale and Swiss chard, spinach, and broccoli from the greenhouse to the garden. I wanted to put on my bee overalls, hat, and gloves, and check on my hives. But I see that it’s pouring rain, and I’ll have to turn my thoughts to other chores.

I do love my bees. They’ve have been active this month. We had such cold snaps this winter that I feared for the hives’ survival. I’m down to two hives, having lost two last year. It’s so difficult to keep bees alive when nearby farmers spray their fields with chemicals, but our bees are vital. I know they’re vital to my garden. When my bees have been busy, the cantaloupes grow fat and round and delicious. And the watermelons . . . It makes my mouth water just the think of it. The bees are our busy pollinators. In all my life, I’ve only been stung three times. My grandfather told me that if you kept a light and peaceful heart, the bees would realize that you mean them no harm.

He never kept bees, but he was a bee charmer. He would follow a bee from the clover meadow to a hidden woods hive in a hollow tree. He would come back at night with a smoker and rob the hive. But he told me that he never took all the honey, and he never harmed the bees, other than to make them a little tipsy with the smoke. My grandfather said that he had the secret from his grandfather. He must have learned the lesson well, because he said he was rarely stung. I think of that when I tend my hives, carefully protected with veiled helmet and gloves. Do I lack the faith he had? I hope not. I know I’m a work in progress in God’s hands. Maybe, in time, I’ll learn the secret as well.


Your friend . . . Emma Miller

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