Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Traveling North to Meet With Bees

A quick note to say I have travelled over the long Coast-Range mountains of the western edge of North America, from San Francisco to Vancouver Island, and am now in a beautiful place called Honey Grove, learning poetry and peace and sweetness from the bees of Nao and Mark Sims.

I left this dry gold-ridged dense landscape of the Bay Area, Mount Diablo rising holy and hot in the east...

.... passed over the Carquinez Straits where the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers drain more than half of the landmass of California into the old roiling Pacific, from the Sierra Nevadas through the big fertile Central Valley...

... gazed open-mouthed at the snowy peaks, rising from the great unfurling body of the land like the noses of mythic badgers, the breasts of snow-stone women, as the landscape grew more forested, more ridged through Oregon and Washington...

...until there, below, were the steep dramatic mountains of Vancouver Island, perched just at the boundary between the North American and Pacific Tectonic plates in the Cascadia Subduction Zone (of which the San Andreas Fault of the Bay Area is the southern extension), created jagged and green-blue by that endless earth-skin movement.

The only thing I like about flying is this cloud's-eye view of mountainscapes and river-valleys winding far below like a great circulatory system, the mountains these great snow-capped vertebrae, this gift of getting to see the earth's surface spreading out below.

But I am much happier and more at ease with my feet on the ground, amidst the familiar Douglas fir trees and the less familiar red cedars, on this blessed land in the Comox Valley that Nao and Mark tend with so much love and such firm wise-rooted soles and hands.

Yesterday I helped Nao tuck the bees in for winter with tar-paper and pillowcases stuffed with wool.

I have never been near so many bees at once, and I thought I'd be afraid, but their gentle buzzing, the sound of Om, as Nao said later, made me so peaceful I felt like I'd always been doing this, bending over hives to tuck the wool in, dusting away the bees with an eagle feather so we could seal up the top, watching their golden bodies, furred, some heavy with parcels of pollen, buzzing gently toward and away from their hives. I felt positively gleeful, and honored, to get to be near those hives.

Earlier that morning, Nao let me taste some of the Honey Grove honeys, very special ones steeped in rose petals under several moons, and a bit of propilis tincture, and a spoonful (oh heavens) of pollen, tiny glimmering grains like pebbles of chert that have been sea-smoothed, only these were bee made, the pollen of many different local flowers. Well, by the end of all that nectar-tasting, I felt like I was hovering, humming, slightly off the floor. I felt like I had eaten a tiny portion of the essence of this place, lovingly gathered by those so-tenderly cared-for bees.

And when I actually got to meet them, I felt a bit in the presence of a miracle, and I thought, how could we ever forget the profundity of that simple buzzing hum of the bee, making love one by one to so many of the flowering plants of this world, carefully carrying off the sweet essence of the sun that those flowers have made, and ensuring that they make fruits?

Blessings to these small furred souls who map the sweetness and the love-making (very literally) of each landscape.

And stay tuned, as an Epistle is being made, about the bees, and the Comox Valley, based upon several German-Swiss fairytales which I will leave as yet unnamed, but featuring, just to whet your appetites, the Mother Holde, or Mother Perchta, of old Germanic/Teutonic lore.... I will share more on this subject, and more of this beautiful place, soon. 


  1. Beautiful... what a wonderful journey to the bees.

  2. (Whoops. My first comment didn't transmit, I'll try again)

    I have several blogs bookmarked from throughout the years and I have slow days where I check in on them, and yours is always *such* a delight.

    This post is just marvelous. Maybe because it's close to home. You flew right over me while you were up there! (I'm a nervy fly-er, too, definitely a land mammal!).

    We are hoping to buy land right next to British Columbia next spring, so I will be perusing their beautiful website later this evening I'm sure. Thanks for sharing the beauty, Sylvia x