70,000 killers ready to strike at any moment. My 8 year old self knew better than to mess with the new colony my dad brought home.
Once, a rogue worker pinched me while I was running in the backyard with my sister. I cried as my mom pulled the stinger from my shaking leg. Soon after, my dad dressed me in a thick white suit and my favorite pair of boots. He led me close to the hive; my only job was to hold the smoker. At night, I secretly licked the piece of beeswax I stole from the hive. It had a sweetness that made me smile––one I couldn’t taste from supermarket honey kept in plastic bear containers.
I have since overcome my fear, and I visit the hives constantly. However, I, like Helen Jukes, still felt bothered by the decline of such beautiful creatures. How could a species that is essential to all life be disregarded as a pest? After reading her article, I decided to give my full attention to the bees. At the hive, I revered the queen bee. In the garden, I was sensitive to colors, changes in wind, and temperature. As a teacher, Jukes has taught me that being “more human” means respecting the life around us. As a beekeeper, she has guided me towards “becoming more attuned” to the changes in my hive.
When I first put on my bee suit, I never imagined I would become like a worker bee: protecting and observing the queen. But, it seems that she has helped me become the imperfect human I am today. Perhaps, in the near future, everyone will grow to love the honeybees as I have.
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