I lost a beehive last year. It was a devastating experience. Everything seemed right; it was a strong hive, but alas the hive failed. I take responsibility. However, this is not about the past except that we must learn from it. The past is, in fact, useless unless we do just that.  But what do I need to learn?

And so this coming Saturday I will start the process over with the experience and education that I wracked up last year. This Saturday I am starting over with two hives. To say that I am nervous is actually not accurate; I am not nervous, but hesitant. I don’t want to fail because failure in beekeeping means that lots of life is wasted.

I am starting with two hives because I am told that it is insurance, that two hives gives the keeper a way to compare; two hives will help educate me. I only hope that my education does not cost the bees their lives. I will do my best, but I know that the bees will do their best. They don’t have a choice, but I do.

The choices we make define who we are, failures and successes. The choices we make define who we will be, and who we have become. I believe that the death of last year’s hive defined who I am today, and inevitably the hives that come on Saturday will define who I will become.

Last week progress was on my mind, and progress can be defined in many ways; some bad, some actually, well…progressive. To fail and to step back up to the plate says a lot about a person. I must remember that bees do not fail in the sense that I do. They simply act; it is us that determine pathways and judge failure against success.

The simplicity of the beehive is amazing; the complications that we create are just as remarkable. In studying all winter long, with the readings and online research I need to remember that complication is not necessarily progress. Progress is simple: the recognition of the shortest, most realistic path to the goal.

Bees do not need much, and they ask nothing of the individuals who decide to “keep” bees. It is in fact not necessary to “keep” bees at all. This year I will endeavor to stay out of my own way and more importantly, to stay out the bees’ way. This year I will progress by not necessarily acting upon the bees, but learning how to act with the bees.

This sounds so simple, but simplicity, I have found, is not so simple.   I can only hope that the “girls” are able to teach me to step back, give them room and not worry so much. It’s quite the advice from such a simple creature. If only more of us could listen.


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