Cuttings

Messenger for the Bees

ILLUSTRATION BY BLANCHE DERBY


“Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex,
the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.”
—Bill Mollison

Where would our gardens be without bees? Bees are messengers of love. They flutter around, getting drunk on nectar. They carry sex on their furry bodies while spreading pollen from one flower to the next. They even do little dances to invite their hive mates to join the party. Without their playful exchanges, our world would be a much less colorful place. Trust me. I know.

In the summer of 2010, two of my beehives at Hayes Valley Farm, a 2.2 acre urban farm in the center of San Francisco, were found sprayed with insect killer. More than 100,000 bees died. Someone had trespassed onto the farm in the night to kill them.

My initial reaction was fierce anger. I suspected a neighbor and felt an overwhelming sense of distrust. I mourned for the bees.

Many people fear bees. Most don’t know that honeybees don’t sting unless provoked, and that bees are responsible for pollinating 85% of our plants and one in every three bites of food we take.

I recently launched Project Grow the Rainbow. With the help of people all across the country, we’re growing one million flowers for the declining bee population. I realized that education is needed and solutions can be simple. The Grow the Rainbow Project is my offering to the bees and to my six-month-old son.

Especially after that violence, I choose to believe that a more beautiful world is possible. I choose to be a solution. I have to be, for my son. I want him and everyone else to know that with each frustration, each bit of stress, and each annoyance, comes an opportunity to “bee” the change we wish to see in the world.

May we all become messengers of love for the bees.

—By Chris Burley of Daly City, CA.


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