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A Time for Honeybees


Article by Brenda Esler

Photography by Brenda Esler

Leave a section of your yard unmanicured, is a tip I learned from Carey Marago, beekeeper and owner of From the Hive, on how to help honeybees thrive. I interviewed her for a story in Bridgewater Lifestyle just a few short months and another lifetime ago.  Her words come back to me now as I sit in my backyard enamored by dandelions and lovely purple flowers that I cannot name. 

Many of my neighbors have started their lawn care season, some mowing two or even three times already, but others like me have not. I like the tufted green of the backyard. It’s reassuring to see nature still in order.

Let it be a world for honeybees now, I think to myself. Let the natural world thrive as humans step aside and stay inside. The slightly unkempt world comforts me now, mirroring the shagginess of our new lives. It's the same as the gray in our hair, our new comfortable attire, the authentic, natural side of self we’re settling into.  

I'm grateful for a job that can be sustained remotely, and sheltering in place is the part I play for now, caring for my children, attending to work and home and distance learning. We've grown accustomed to greeting one another in little boxes on a screen. Regardless of agenda, what I always see first is people sharing a powerful experience that need not be mentioned. We are colleagues, friends, meeting for the first time in this new context. I’m glad to see them, and be seen. I’m glad we’re still connected. I’m glad to be part of something. 

Sitting In my backyard on Saturday afternoon, I take in the abundance of this world. My heart is always full of gratitude for those on the front lines, but I do not follow the numbers anymore. Instead, I give thanks for nature's cycle undaunted by the plight of humans, and observe the natural world expanding as ours contracts. I listen to the layered songs of birds, different conversations from varying distances. I hear the coo of a single dove resonate above the blending birdsong. I notice the abundance that has always been here, right in my own backyard.

I watch for honeybees, but the wind is cold today. I imagine them somewhere nearby collecting nectar. I wonder if their lives are at all altered, if they can feel this energy. Judging from the birds, I expect the bees are buzzing along undaunted, and take comfort in the thought. I hope they are benefiting from all the unmanicured yards like mine.

The human dance of priorities is now a slow dance, and bless it I say. Let this be a time for the honeybees. Who better to make something sweet of it.

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