Bee Loved Glade
June 30, 2007

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

By William Butler Yeats

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made;
Nine bean rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a-glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear the water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements gray,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.


What a lovely day we had in the bee-loud and bee-loved glade at Van Dusen Gardens. The beehives are happily situated beside a small pond, in front of an orchard, next to the heritage vegetable gardens and adjacent to a medicine wheel garden. The Syringa tree in the orchard is in full bloom right now and was humming with bumblebees, leaf cutter bees and honey bees. A hummingbird zoomed in and out of the fuschia blossoms in a bush behind my table. Occasionally high pitched shrieks broascasted from the nest of a small songbirds in the same bush.

Other trees in the orchard were making stranger noises--electronic hums and buzzes from the pieces of the two artists working next to me on their projects. Robin Ripley is mending the leaves of a fruit tree with a needle and thread. She performs the lost art of darning--creating small patches that she stitches right into the hole in a leaf, making the surface whole again. A solar cell powers a pager motor that shakes the patched leaf. Diana Burgoyne in building a copper frame over the trunk of an apple tree. She is working in collaboration with Robin, who is creating patches for the leaves on Diana's tree which Diana stitches into using conductive thread. The artist patches these onto a gizmo that measures the moisture content of the leaf and makes different sounds for the different levels of moisture. It's as if the trees were talking!

Today was the debut of my auditory hive: a cone-shaped sculpture that is rigged with the hum of a beehive. People have quite different reactions to the piece--some find the buzzing sound very disturbing and claustrophobic, and others find it calming. One man said he though it worked much better when he closed his eyes. One of my favorite moments of the day was seeing my very pregnant friend Kelly sitting under the auditory hive with her big belly. Gorgeous! She and her partner made messages to the bees regarding the imminent arrival of the new baby. Thank you to all the friends who came out today. It was lovely to share such a beautiful day with you. Thanks to Peter and Ken for helping with transportation and setup.