I watch the bees sharing the honey through their proboscis, grooming each other, flies sometimes eating next to them and even cleaning the bees’ wings. And I see them walking all over each other without so much as an “excuse me” and no one gets angry. Even an occasional wasp or other winged creature will sit warily off to the side waiting for an opportunity to feed. And they are not bothered. I watch all this for a long time, all the while wondering why humans can’t be more like honeybees.
Leaning back in my rocker, listening to the birds and sensing Mother’s silence in the sunshine, I ponder over what I see on Yahoo – racial slurs, killings, governments in chaos, the wars …. I sit on my porch listening to my bees low-toned buzz that so resonates with me while thinking about the world in general. I often wonder why the world is in the state it is in and why it can’t be like the bees, the fly, the birds, and nature. Glancing at the book I just finished, I sit in my rocker and think on the journey to my piece of heaven.
Hillbilly Elegy, by J.D. Vance, is about Appalachian people and its culture. I was mountain bred and born in southern Kentucky and can pick up just about anything and shoot with it with good accuracy. My mother moved from the Appalachian Mountains when I was a year old because there were no jobs. Coming from the Appalachian culture, the book made me pause at the reasons for illiteracy, ignorance, anger, and violence.
In 1995, wanting to move closer to my roots, my husband and I moved to a small town in eastern Tennessee next to the Kentucky state line. I learned quickly how powers-at-be can control the people. The school books had not been replaced for nearly 40 years. The best way to keep a society controlled is to affect the school system, keep the people ignorant and illiterate. It took an outsider to bring the issue to the state government that investigated and eventually put the county system on probation for 2 years to give them time to clean up their act or be taken over by the state. It worked. New books were ordered for the first time in 40 years, a new school was built, food purchased for lunches stopped being sold out the back door, and rumor had it that someone had to write a check for over a million dollars after the audit was completed.
Half of the population bought the drugs that were sold to the other half of the population in the local drugstore parking lot. The powers-at-be owned the stores where people shopped. Seeds and farm supplies were sold by them and when folks harvested their crops they paid off their credit. If folks had a car and could afford the gas, they shopped in the ‘big city’ and went to the movies there. Once the main road was widened, the community opened to the ‘outside’ and things changed.
The human soul knows it needs to grow and flourish. When a human cannot and does not grow, it becomes restless and often angry. When self-preservation tools are not taught, there is usually abuse and/or neglect then one develops insecurity and low self-esteem. An individual also feels the need to belong to something or someone because they need to have a purpose to feel good about themselves. (S)he will often fall victim to any verbiage that praises or promises to give what the individual thinks they need. ISIS uses insecurity and low self-esteem in recruiting their victims.
My generation was born during WWII and life after the war life was easy. There were jobs that paid well enough for us to more than survive. We had good neighbors; never locked our doors during the day while we were gone; and we slept in peace at night. We didn’t have the drug problems plaguing our society today; didn’t have the gangs that now terrorize neighborhoods; and we didn’t have the welfare system that exists today.
My generation remembered the depression and gave to our children what we lacked in our youths. I can still remember being taught how to conserve, recycle everything until it disappeared, and preserve everything we ate. Our children never had to do these things so were not taught the values of being conscious of our carbon footprints. Our children learned to become good consumers and often were not given ‘chores’ to learn the value of a dollar. Our children also may not have learned self-pride by a job well done, how to set goals to achieve self-respect, or to give themselves something to work for.
Our grandchildren grew up expecting their means of living to be given to them without earning them. Not being taught the values we had, grandchildren have been raised clueless regarding the value of money, idealistic goals, honoring the elders, self-respect, etc. Today, a lot of the grandchildren are growing up with grandparents and some are angry because the parents are often not on the scene. If today’s young people are not living with parents or grandparents, they share living quarters with friends all living in one house, bum off friends or relatives, stay in their cars, on the streets …. Is our generation responsible for some of what is happening in our young societies today? Perhaps.
I look at the animal kingdom and think about how each generation passes on traits and habits that allow them to survive and how they don’t pollute their environment. Yet, we humans, being the higher form of intelligence, seem to have problems with passing down good habits, have a hard time adapting to their environment while polluting it, are greedy and show anger when they don’t get what they want. or are just plain angry and have the need to strike out or hurt someone or something.
Watching my bees, I know them to be compassionate and intelligent, each knowing what needs to be done to survive and do their part. It is extremely hard work being a honeybee – for the most part because it has to live with humans and their bumbling efforts at exploiting the bee. Humans can learn from the honeybee. But even in beekeeping, humans often take the easy, cheap way out without honoring the bee. They often look upon the honeybee as a commodity and not as a sentient being.
The more I know people, the more I enjoy my bees. At least, when I get stung, I’m not surprised.