Telling the bees
Unfortunately, I had reason to tell my bees of a dear friend’s passing recently. The tradition of telling the bees goes back far longer than anyone can remember. As my learning about bees increases, the more sense all these traditions make. It feels as if we are all just remembering past wisdoms after years of it all being lost in the mists of technology and science.
It was important that my bees knew of her passing. My friend was a former neighbour and was responsible for planting an incredible bee friendly garden just a short flight from their hives. The garden lives on, although she moved a little way away a few years ago.
The large clumps of bee friendly flowers were a magnet and she benefited from tasting the resulting honey shortly before her time ran out.
Bee tea party
The day after the news that Deb was no more, I was speaking at a bee Tea Party, held at The Seed Café in Wincanton. Lynne Franks restored the old pub in the market square into this inspirational light and magical café with a beautiful clothes and gifts shop Her ‘hub’ has been drawing together many other active people in the town to rejuvenate the once dwindling centre. Her monthly women’s networking dinners have resulted in many new friendships and business collaborations. The Bee Tea Party was one idea that sprang from our meeting.
I love speaking to an audience, especially about bees, and so was delighted to have been asked, despite my busy schedule and managing the grief at the loss of a friend.Deb had only a few weeks previously was sharing photos of her visits to beautiful gardens, not only locally, but as far away as South Africa and Italy. Perhaps she knew her time was limited, we can only guess.
Chemical free food
Pulling on my ‘happy face’ I enjoyed catching up with many friends, old and new, feeling very supported by people who I thought knew me too well to attend one of my talks. Surely they’d heard it all before?
Apparently not, or they were happy to hear it again, after all, I’m speaking for the bees, sharing the wisdom they’ve shared with me. Maybe they knew I needed support this day more than most.
After the delicious bee-friendly tea (all chemical free and vegan food), live music and my talk, I settled into a corner signing books and chatting.
A beautiful stranger joined the queue and to my surprise, when it was her turn to have her book signed, she presented me with a gift.
As a potter, Alison Underwood is known for her thrown pots, using the ancient English word ‘Thrawan’ meaning ‘thrown’ as her business name. A couple of weeks before the talk she was inspired to make a Bee Goddess yet couldn’t bring herself to sell it. It hung in her bedroom, then shortly before the Bee Tea Party she had a visionary moment and knew she should give the totem to me.
It seems fitting that this bee goddess will be named Deb after my friend but also as in Hebrew Deborah means Bee. Deborah was the Biblical prophetess who summoned Barak to battle against an army of invaders. After the battle she wrote a victory song which is part of the Book of Judges.. My friend Deb wrote poems, victory songs of her trials and tribulations. I have so many things that she had given me over the years, jewellery, and antique glass, dainty travel slippers and lots and lots of stationary. These were the practical Deb, all items used daily so always in my mind.
Then as an added twist, Alison’s middle name is Debra, so there has been plenty to tell the bees.
Now I have a Deb to watch over me, minding my spelling and grammar, and encouraging me to remember I’m a #beelady.
You can read more about ‘telling the bees’ in my book ‘A to Bees’ available from all good bookshops or here