I'm seeing a few bees in the garden, but wait until the mint blooms--then the bees will come in great numbers. At least I hope they will, because every year I worry that there will be fewer bees or even none to pollinate the flowers, fruits, and vegetables of the world.
I love the following poem by Carol Ann Duffy.
The Human Bee by Carol Ann Duffy
I became a human bee at twelve,
when they gave me my small wand,
my flask of pollen,
and I walked with the other bees
out to the orchards.
I worked first in apples,
climbed the ladder
into the childless arms of a tree
and busied myself, dipping and tickling.
duping and tackling, tracing
the petal’s guidelines
down to the stigma.
I knew my lessons by heart:
the ovary would become the fruit,
the ovule the seed,
fertilised by my golden touch,
my Midas touch.
I moved to lemons,
head and shoulders
lost in blossom; dawn till dusk,
my delicate blessing.
All must be docile, kind, unfraught
for one fruit –
nectarine, peach, the rhymeless orange.
And if an opening bud
was out of range,
I’d jump from my ladder onto a branch
So that was my working life as a bee,
till my eyesight blurred,
my hand was a trembling bird
in the leaves,
the bones of my fingers thinner than wands.
And when they retired me,
I had my wine from the silent vines,
and I’d known love,
and I’d saved some money –
but I could not fly and I made no honey.
In the way that synchronicity works, I've been reading R. Allen Chappell's mysteries set in the Four Corners region of the Southwest. The characters are Navajo and the setting is mostly on the Navajo reservation. The first two are Navajo Autumn and Boy Made of Dawn, which I've reviewed on my book blog. I love a good mystery, and these are excellent, but they are also informative about the Navajo people, their history, traditions, and culture.
Navajo Views on NatureThe Navajo Way never viewed religion as the activity that must be separated from daily encounter in life. The livings things (animals, people and plants) have been a great portion of the religion and their life. Everything has a purpose and spirit in their own world. The main intention for Navajo people is maintaining balance and peace and stay in harmony with nature and the world. (Source)Balance, peace, and harmony--admirable goals. So as I was thinking about bees and the pollination of plants, I thought about the importance of corn pollen to the Navajo.
The Navajo word tádídíín is the word for corn pollen.Where else does all this lead me. I've been curious about the WWII Navajo Code Talkers for years. When I finish all of R. Allen Chappell's mysteries, I will look for nonfiction accounts of the Code Talkers.
Tádídíín is a fundamental aspect of Navajo traditional culture. It comes from the tassels of a mature corn plant, and can only be collected by a female.
It is then blessed and used by all as the primary means of communicating with the Navajo Holy People. It is a conduit through which safety and happiness are assured, especially when one travels beyond the Navajo homeland (Dinétah).
It is a sweet-tasting yellow-colored powder that is commonly kept in small leather pouches. (Source)
Back to bees, the importance of bees and the pollinating of plants cannot be underestimated.
P.S. My cousin is a beekeeper. :)