It appears that we are getting another reminder from mother nature that she ultimately holds all the cards. We, of course, often like to think otherwise. I often remind people that we are of this earth, not some aliens dropped down to observe it from a bubble. Like every other creature that resides here, we too are at the mercy of unseen complexity and not controlling the scene with a game-controller or a finger-slide across a phone screen. That’s not to say that there’s nothing we can do but to say that we are in control is delusional, in my view. That’s something you learn quickly in beekeeping; you are never really in control.
One of the bee books I have on my shelf is called “Better Queens” by Jay Smith. It was originally printed in 1949. In one section, barely a mention on the way to his larger point, he recalls giving a beekeeping course in California during WWI. This, of course, was during the 1918 influenza pandemic of the so called Spanish flu. Below is a photo from the book and the section describing the scene.
History is written from the perspective of a rear-view mirror so it’s hard to truly capture the mood of any particular time. On top of that is the filter of individual experience. Was this gallows humor, which is usually a real-time coping mechanism and not something expressed some 31 years after an event, or simply having enough chronological distance to put a happier face on it? It’s hard to know, but it’s an interesting contrast to the standard view of the time given to us by the idiot box. The lesson might be that “life goes on.” What else was there to do after the horrors of WWI and a deadly pandemic?
Here in the Deep South, it’s swarm season. Most of us beekeepers have already made hive splits and will continue to monitor our colonies and get them built up for the main honey flow. Beside the work of building and painting equipment which I always seem to never catch up on, I love this time of year. I enjoy managing young hives and seeing them grow while the world turns greener and full of life.
So, do your best to take things in stride, folks! Adapt and improvise! Take care of your bees health and take care of your own. We’re sold out of honey but we’ll be back soon. And we’re growing so hopefully we’ll be back a little stronger.
Well, let me get on about my rat killin’!