New Servant of the Hive

Minoan Bee Pendant (circa 1800-1700 BCE). Found in the Old Palace cemetery near Malia, Crete. (Herakleion Archaeological Museum, Crete)

Minoan Bee Pendant (circa 1800-1700 BCE). Found in the Old Palace cemetery near Malia, Crete. (Herakleion Archaeological Museum, Crete)

No one notices the vacuum, the empty, till it’s full of bullets, fears, lies. These are the penetrating years adding up one by one since you left us. Propaganda. Slogans. Memes shout the truth of consensus. Majority rules. Faith in numbers. Money is might and is right. And the earth is flat once more. Anything not nailed down by its weight in gold could roll off into the void any second.  Or so it seems to some.

Snow falls in July, while this lumbering time is frozen in a jar like a bright orange butterfly. It’s wings slowing until at last, in its somber stillness, a child, who has never seen a butterfly, wakes up from a summer nap, runs outside, and remembers the sun as the oldest friend from before any of us were born. Living at the edge of a wildflower meadow, he bravely approaches the happy humming hive and whispers to the buzzing brood. 

They listen to the ancient beekeeper’s son returned, and form a heart shape at the mouth of their hive.

Marveling at the bees like a school boy visiting the ballet as they perform their dancing map of time and distance to the flowers they know best. Wings and antennae create the cartography of summer seen though their eyes. Lilacs here, and wild rose there. Queen Anne’s lace in the middle of it all. 

He speaks to the bees in soothing words he remembers from the life he lived an eternity before he was born. 

These are the penetrating years, they tell him in their dance. It is not just our colonies that are falling apart. You too suffer.

They stop their dance. Become still. Form a line looking at him, their soft yellow hair gleaming in the majestic summer sun. Wide eyes. Calm antennae. 

He can hear them sing their joy of finding somewhere free of sprays that make them sick and die.

We are wildflowers, too, and so are you, the bees sing to the boy. 

He is no more magical than any child born in another age, like that of Atlantis or Lemuria, but he is a marvel today. His friends all play video games, and can’t wait to get a fancy phone just like their parents. The boy can’t wait to get on his bike and go visit his bees. 

Today a new vision opens. He has seen the ancient Bee Goddess. Melissa, who once reigned over every summer meadow. We were beekeepers before we made plows, swords, stored seed, or herded animals. 

The bees have asked him to dip his finger inside and taste their sucrose and fructose becoming the wild honey that no one knows anymore. They push a piece of propolis to the front of the hive.

Here, take it home with you, they say. Chew on this. It will protect you, vaccinate you against the relentless onslaught of this world. We are not separate, but linked together. As you care for us, so we care for you. Man and bee intertwined is how it has always been. Just because everyone chooses to forget this doesn’t mean it still isn’t so. If we fall down, collapse, then so shall you.

We feel your pain. Carry your sorrow. We try to give you back the sweetness that was meant to be savored by all, the bees sing on.

Yes, I know, the boy whispers back to the bees in his soothing bee voice that no one has ever heard except the bees. I know how much you give. How much we have taken, he tells them in his beekeeper voice.

These are the penetrating years, they sing. What will you do to make them see? And stop?

I will simply keep bees. I will write down what you have sung to me. I will order my world in simple harmony. I will gather. Pollinate. Serve a higher queen of the meadow. All sweetness is temporary, which is why it tastes so sweet. I will not fill the empty with my anger, greed, lust for acquisition, or relentless pursuit of pleasure.

I will believe in the birds, the butterflies, and the bees. I will listen to them. Care for them. Restore the balance. And all will bee free.

[Gary D Aker lives in Portland, Oregon where he currently pursues dance, photography and creating his crime novels, in addition to writing lyrical and narrative poetry, flash fiction, sudden memoir, long-form memoir, articles, numerology charts and whatever else is lying about that needs to get written. His poetry and flash fiction has been recently published in Night Bomb Press, and The Smoking Poet.]