April 28, 2009 8:22 PM

Ah… I’ve been so busy these last days.  Trying to even take my ten minutes has become impossible.  Ah, excuses.  But, really, in the last two weeks bookending Earth Day, I have done quite a number of things: a school residency in Rollinsford, NH, a school residency at Phillips Exeter Academy, a day’s site visit to a project in Waterville, ME, a day’s work on a site with 50 volunteers from Timberland, a photo shoot and an artist residency at a Greenland, NH school.  Then, in between, I built a large garden shed and built 16 4’x12′ raised beds and filled them with soil.

So, today’s meditation was a little different.  I received my honey bee packages today.  I waited until late afternoon to install the bees in the hive.  Just when I planned to do it, a thunderstorm threatened. Clouds swooped in, wind blew everything in the yard away and the bees got agitated.  I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t really wait, dark was approaching.  Tomorrow was not an option: I get on a plane for a week’s vacation in a few hours.  It seemed, now or never.

I opened the first package, but the queen cage slipped into the box where I couldn’t reach it.  It was covered by a thousand bees drinking in her pheromones.  I tried tipping the box upside down to slide her cage into the hive.  I dumped countless bees  into the hive before she fell through.  They were all covered in the sugar syrup that I sprayed on them before opening the box, this seemed to mollify them.  The wind blew.  I had a hard time managing the box and queen. Bees blew away in the wind. I sweat in my bee suit.  I think more form stress than the anomaly of 90 degrees in April.  I couldn’t get the rest of the bees out of the cage opening and into the hive.  They were too thick with syrup to move and engorging on their first good meal in days.  Five days in a postal truck will do that to you.  Finally, I gave up my gentleness.  I banged the cage on the ground to loosen them up and most poured into the hive.  Hundreds spilled out on to the ground or still stayed in the cage.  Will they realize the hive is their new home?  Will they stay outside?  How will they know where to go?  I closed it up and watched them crawl in the ground.  Many of those bees were not long for the world anyway, I could see their tattered wings, and their beat bodies.  It is time for the queen to start laying and beget the next generation.  First the ones in the hive must eat their way through the candy cork and release her from her cage.

I moved on to install the other package in it’s hive.  With the practice, I was more confidant, smoother.  The bees seemed happier.  Except for the wind.

Now, off to a week away.  Maybe I’ll write my meditations by hand to publish when I’m back.

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