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Maintaining The Hive

Posted on: Monday, May 13, 2013

Complexities of the hive via Bart van Didden

While on the road this past week plus, exploring and exchanging stories with good folks in the Rhodope Mountains of Bulgaria, I was reminded once again of the social complexities and true artistry of beekeeping. It seems as if everyone in this part of the world has some expertise on bees and their decline – regardless of locale. With good reason, beekeeping is an ancient agrarian pastime that serves as a valid barometer for the present.

(photo by Abigail Doan)

Our hosts in Gela had these amazing beehive forms on view in their home – a reminder of traditions that run deep in this rural region and the practical inclination towards cultivating a dialogue with the land – regardless of modern changes and recent technological advances.

'Made by my Dad, Smokey, a public school math teacher in 1992/ 
restrung in 2000' via f-i-e-l-d

This got me thinking more about swarm theory as well as the ways that we mark our own productivity and historic interaction with others. How might we also embrace (map) the old in ways that defy the new? I grew up in a household that had a spinning wheel whirling in the background while evening television was on. I realize now that this was not really the norm.


We are so accustomed to stratifying the old and new in ways that no longer really work for us. Slow and fast fashion? Are we really so primitive that we need to create hierarchies for the layers of clothes that we don and how this links us to our environment, global production atrocities, and social injustices?


The hive consists of a queen bee and her workers, but no queen – at least in terms of style – should vainly sacrifice her makers. The hive itself is organically regulated unlike the factories of textile and garment production, which leads me to ask – why must we still be so cruel, even though we know that the queen and our craving for trends will always die off? 

It's an old story and one that deserves a new ending, at least where humans are concerned.

1 comments:

badmomgoodmom said...

When we visited Tanzania in 2011, we discovered "Safari Honey", made by African bees. To us in the west, used to European honey bees, that seems incredibly dangerous. To them, it's how they get their honey.

Amazing strength in the people. Amazingly flavorful honey. It't not cheap, because African bees make only half as much honey as European ones, and the work is dangerous. But, it is worth seeking out.

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