Fearless Beekeeping

Beehives September 2020

It’s the wee hours of a Saturday morning. I should be sleeping, instead I’m restless, wide-eyed. There’s a winter storm a-comin’. I haven’t had a minute to put two thoughts together since school started in the fall. We moved the exact same week. I thought it was going to kill me. Maybe it almost did.

I remember learning what happens to the brain when a person goes into survival mode. I was told in advance, but I learned the hardest lessons by living it for more than a year. No, I’m not talking about 2020, I’m talking about 13 years ago. I knew what would happen when the Pandemic hit. I knew that we would act and process things automatically based on our fight or flight response. And I knew what would happen when I was no longer in the survival situation. My brain and the brains of the rest of my family, would begin to process all the emotions that had been shoved to the back of our minds. That’s right. We don’t get to skip those. And the longer you are in fight or flight, or the younger you are (children) the longer it takes to mentally regurgitate all the packed away junk and heal. We will feel emotions disassociated from our current situation at times. Specifically, we may wake up feeling angry or sad and have no idea why. The important things to remember are that it is normal, to ask for understanding, and that it will pass. And someday, soon we all hope, we will have our new normal.

Sometime this week I  began to experience a little bit of non-fight or flight state. My body has healed enough and we are settled enough in our new home that my mind can start processing. And of course, it turns to concern about our animals and the coming subzero temps, and fretting about our last remaining bee hive. It’s my favorite hive, a swarm catch from the feral colony that used to live in a hollow tree in our old backyard. They are the Bob Ross of bees. Always chill, and always surprising and challenging us with their creative comb building art. They are, in fact, happy little bees.

I can’t control the weather. Fretting and fussing will do them no good. We can put up a wind break since we have no trees. We can be confident that we left enough honey on the hive. We can trust their feral genetics and the fact that they have survived many winters with no beekeepers. But still, I worry. I’ll be glad when the blizzard is over. I’ll be glad when the days turn warm and I hope that I will still see them bobbing back and forth, up and down getting ready for new flowers.

Jesus told us not to worry. So for the next few days I will pray for my little bees to make it through another winter and for us to make it past last years challenges and to our new spring here on our new homestead.

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