In july last year, my husband and I established an agreement with an elderly couple, an agreement involving a whole year of learning from them, of being taught in one of the oldest ways of teaching. We became their apprentices in the art of biodynamic beekeeping.
They have introduced us to the amazing, intriguing, and utterly thrilling world of life in a bee hive.
I'm deeply grateful we have been given this opportunity to learn from such experienced and knowing, yet curious and open-minded people. Their enthusiasm and love for the bees are touching, and their knowledge is shared with abundant generousity. They have travelled all over the world, in order to learn more about bees. They've told us, that even though they didn't understand the language spoken in most of the countrys, they always understood other beekeepers. They have learned from munks in England and Polish bee keepers in acacia forests. And now they offer all this knowledge to us. While humbly declaring themselves as merely beginners, after 35+ years.
The 'us' very soon came to include little S. He's our little 'bug boy', and even though I believed he was too little, our Masters in the Bee Arts welcomed him with open arms. Watching my little boy lifting up a comb barehanded, with unhurried and careful movements. Seeing how he examins the comb with patience and deep interest, before gently sliding it back in the hive. Enjoying the inspiration it gives him: drawing bees; queens, drones and worker bees. Making little books with drawings of hives and bee keepers and writing about it with his sweet big letters and funny spelling. Hearing him say, with warmth and confidence, that 'bees are sweet and harms noone'. Well, that makes my heart swell with love and pride, and confirms that making bees a part of our lives is the right thing to do.
My husband and I now have a hive each, the bees still living with our teachers. Little S shall have the next queen and her family whenever the chance occurs. I wish we could find a swarm and bring home for him - but that is probably too much to hope for.
Our education is involving all aspects of bee keeping. But first and foremost to understand the complexity of colony life, in order to respect its integrity. We learn how letting the bees build natural combs and rejuvenate and reproduce freely, as is their true nature, makes them stronger and healthier.
We also learn, that 'The wisdom of the hive guides its keeper', of which our teachers are living examples. Our little one believes in this so strongly, that when in doubt of this or that, he remarks: 'let's call Eivind and have him ask the bees'.
If you'd like to read more, Bees - an ancient love story, by Michael Thiele, is a beautiful approach to bees.