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The Mystery of the Vanishing Bees!

Sandra Polvinale

This day will go down in history on the Serendipity Farm, a day so bright and glorious, when a little bit of heaven dropped it's veil. It was a day that Heaven touched Earth. We, Francesca and I that is, my cat that thinks she's a dog, witnessed something so beautiful yet so grievous that we still talk about it over a cup of mint tea. She prefers cat nip tea and I spearmint, but then I am digressing.

I'll tell you this true story as it was told once by the trees, for the trees have seen even Civil War soldiers hide out among the bees. Yes the bees. It all started with the bees.

It was not so hot as the other day, I thought, here in Pennsylvania. We had just finished our tea, when....

I said "Francesca do you hear that?" My cat that thinks she's a dog is quite human at times. Listen! Do you hear that?! It sounds like singing. Francesca chattered away trying to give me a reason for this unusual song. Quiet! Listen.

I saw something moving about behind the typical Red Pennsylvania Bank Barn. It was a grey mass, moving, singing. As we moved closer the smell of warm honey filled the air. I always liked that perk of owning a bee hive or two. And I found myself in a daydream of a fine Civil War Soldier from "Old Virginia". I remembered the sound of a distinct regional southern dialect of a Rebel saying, "The smell of warm honey on a hot summer day can be almost intoxicating!"

Walking up to the scene we moved right into the middle of the party. The music was heavenly! Truly Heavenly! It was I guess liken to what angels must sound like. We closed our eyes and felt the gentle flutter of honey bee wings against our cheeks and it tickled. The music was changing, becoming the most beautiful music I had ever heard, even in the best choirs in town. A light breeze was blowing and the quiet creeks of the locust trees that shaded the hives were groaning a bit from the bad storm we had the week before. It had cracked one trunk that had to be braced by metal and wire. A Bee Whisperer

As we were listening to the bee's hymns, I had a dream of working my hives just the week before. I don't wear bee gear like I should most times, and just work my bees with shorts and a loose T shirt. My friends laugh at me and call me the Bee Whisperer. Like the Horse Whisperer movie years ago I guess! By now, the bees were getting organized. No, not swarming, for I know what a swarm is for sure! They usually cling to a tree and cluster around to keep the Queen warm. They were gaining momentum now and moving around Francesca and I in a slow twister type of situation. But, they were not going laterally, they were not moving in to the woods. The singing was almost deafening at this point as they seemed drunk or just care free. As they started moving up into the sky, not the woods, I was shocked. I screamed in a quiet, yet concerned tone. Hey! If you are going to up and leave me, at least go into the woods! My voice just trailed off and was almost inaudible as I watched in unbelief.

It became quiet that sunny day in July 2008. Quiet and still as my babies as I called them, up and left Francesca and I ! They rose higher and higher until THEY COULD BE SEEN NO MORE! It was a group suicide I suppose. Not even a dot could be seen.

What the Physicist said

Not more than a month later, I was on a date with a Physicist having a very cerebral conversation. I told him my true story of my babies up and leaving us. He looked with his brows squished down as all thinkers do, and there was a long pause.

Maybe, just maybe those bees of yours know something we don't. Maybe just maybe there may be something coming we have yet to see, but they know! They are just getting out now. Or maybe it has something to do with the magnetic poles shifting.

Well, we can speculate all we want, but I bet if we listen long enough in the quiet of the hot air where Civil War soldiers have fought and rested, I bet those trees, where the bees made many a home........ could tell us!

The Birds and the Bees

When I think of my honey bees, I just can't help thinking of the birds and the bees as they say. Reproduction, as it is. And as they say in Adams County, "so it is". So when I think of reproduction, I think of ... Mothers! Aren't Mothers wonderful? Did your Mothers ever tell you about the birds and the bees? There is this old black and white movie called the The Miracle of Marcelino. In this old flick filmed in Italy, at an old Abby, there is a little baby that is left on the doorstep of this living quarters of MONKS! Yes! All men. And they are thinking, what are we supposed to do with this little baby? Nobody in town claimed him nor did they want to take him into their homes and adopt him. So,the Monks raised this little wonderful boy with mischievousness and curio playfulness ruling him to the delight of any Mother. He missed his Mother and longed to know her all the time, yet loved his Brother "Cookie" ( the cook) Brother Sickly ( the infirmed Monk) and so on. The Miracle

There was one part of the movie that required a full box of tissues. He was told not to go up to the 3rd floor attic lest he hurt himself. Well, being a boy, that is all you need to say to him to check it out in secret. There was a full life size Crucifix with some chairs and attic things about. He would go up there and talk to this "man" about all his dealings and fun of the day, like you would talk to a Mother or Father. He felt so bad that "this man" was not feeling well and had sharp spikes in his forehead. He asked does it hurt? Can I get you something to eat? Are you thirsty? Marcelino would hide a few crumbs of bread and sneak some wine up there for Jesus. He was nurturing him as a Mother does for her young. As little birds feed their peeps and how honey bees tend to each other. Jesus came alive for this little innocent darling boy and talked with him about many things. Marcelino, with his large brown eyes, asked him about Mothers one day. After the "man" told him his name, He came down and sat in a chair holding Marcelino on his lap. Marcelino asked him very important questions?

Where is my Mother?

Jesus, what are Mothers like? Oh, dear boy, they are loving and kind and sweet. Are Mothers beautiful? Oh yes! They are very beautiful. Do I have a Mother? Oh yes Marcelino, everyone has a Mother! Well, where is mine? In heaven. Can I go there? Well not yet, but you will my boy, you will. But I miss her. Can't I see her? Does she smell good? Oh yes, sweetness like honey and flowers. But can I be with her NOW? Do you really want to be with her now? Yes, yes, I do. Then one of the Monks came up the steps and peeked in the room. He saw Jesus come down off the cross, on a chair, holding little Marcelino. Jesus had the crown of thorns on a chair that the dear little boy insisted He remove. I am crying softly as I type this. And as Marcelino broke bread and tasted the wine with Jesus, he died in His arms seeing his Momma, for the first time. Jesus then gently placed the boy on the chair and went back up on the Cross. The Monk started crying and ran down to tell the others. This was the miracle of Marcelino. Pane Vino. Marcelino, Bread and Wine.

Honey Bees, Mothers and Love

Mothers. Aren't they wonderful? And they smell so good! My Mother always smelled like Jergens skin lotion. I love that smell. Good memories. Smell brings back a lot of memories. Honey bees have a good sense of smell. Don't ever eat a banana and then go to work your honey bees. My husband made that big mistake years ago. The freshly killed bees release a scent that imitates the smell of a banana. Also, never wear red when you are working them, and NEVER EVER push a red lawn mower and bump up against the hives! ha! Well, oops, my beautiful late husband did all three, and he came in with a few little kisses from my girls. Ouch! And he was a brilliant man too!

So Let Me Tell Ya 'Bout The Birds And The Bees...

From the 1960's song: So let me tell ya 'bout the birds and the bees and the flowers and trees and moon up above, and I think of love. And Love = Mothers! Mothers love unconditionally and we need all the love we can get in this world today. Mothers are only here for a very short time with us. Just like the worker honey bees that have a certain life span, so do our dear Moms. Love them and store their love for future use. Just as the worker bees tend to the Queen bee, let us cultivate and till the ground sowing seeds of love we have gleaned from our Mothers. And hope and pray our honey bees will be with us a long time also, for without them, we will not have many crops! Keep hopeful, for we are a tight knit town and know when to retreat, but never give up!  

Read other articles by Sandra Polvinale