Carrying Out the Dead
August 10, 2006

"Throughout Europe it was generally believed that bees wouldn't thrive if important news was withheld from them--especially the news of when their keeper died. The custom has deep roots in the bee's association with the human soul and their habit of frequenting caves. Caves were thought of as semi-sacred entrances to the underworld and bees were seen as the souls of the dead either returning to Earth or en route to the next world. In fact, the myths of ancient Germanic tribes say that bees came from an underground paradise where they dwelt with the fates."

The last time I visited a hive at UBC farm, I watched a worker bee carry a dead ivory-colored pupa out of the hive and place it in the dry grass. I hadn't noticed before that the area immediately in front of the hive was covered with dead bees. Whether the premature death of this insect was due to disease or mites, it was taking up valuable space and needed to be moved out. The threat of genetically modified plants and pesticides, and loss of habitat means that honeybees and wild bee populations are declining at a worrisome rate.

I'm here in Regina now. As soon as I stepped out of the airport, that familiar dry, warm wind of a prairie summer brushed my face. The expansive sky feels like home. I spent the evening at a friend's house, catching up on four year's worth of news. We told each other the important news in our lives and discussed the death of a young friend of ours who is from Regina. I'm sorry I missed CM's wake, but more than that I regret I hadn't been able to spend more time with her before we lost her. CM passed some very important gifts and memories onto us. She taught me a physical alignment technique called The Mitzvah Technique. "Mitzvah" is a word which means a good deed which returns good to the one who performs it. Every time I do my Mitzvah exercises I am reminded of CM, and this morning the feeling of her presence and her memory was so strong I broke down in my hotel room, sobbing. She was yet another victim of cancer. She was a gifted healer, and a beautiful singer. All over the prairies there are people who received the mitzvahs of CM. Our bodies move in different places, at different times, like shafts of wheat bending in the wind, dancing with the spirit of our friend.



• Comment posted by d floren on 20-Aug-06

hello!!!bbb: best bee blog, especially "folding me back into a summer I barely remember," made me think of GG Marquez: "in Akrotiri, the path to the ruins leads past bushes of rosemary, the herb of rememberance."At the fair today and met John from in Surrey.