Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Queen Must Die

I love the name of this book: at once dramatic, prescriptive, and poignant!

Spring and summer have formed a hybrid season, occurring now, that exhibits the worst qualities of each. Spring's freshness has withered in summer's humidity. Summer sunshine has been overshadowed by spring's warm rains and white skies. Thus, the following passage, describing early spring, is untimely. But I love it so much that I've peppered photos of early spring throughout, to lure the reader into reminiscing, if momentarily:

New colonies are usually started in the spring. It is important that [honeybees] build up quickly for the first honeyflow, that rich vernal harvest of early nectar, a time when nature herself is drunk with love and ecstasy, a time of alternate warm rains and cloudless skies, of flowering dogwood, locust, iris, shad, and earth.

The honeybee, released from winter bondage, revels in the renewed flowering of the earth, humming her own ode to joy.

And yet, over this exaltation, this climactic fulfillment of nature, hovers an explicable sadness that seems to have no place amidst such excitement of new life, as if it alone knows how soon all will vanish.
Any honey-lover knows that not all honey is created equal. Most honey found in supermarkets has been filtered so thoroughly that it barely resembles the original substance in looks or taste. Raw honey and honeycomb, my personal favorites, are pretty much untreated and provide a the honey-eater a richer, more satisfying gustatory experience.

Spring honey, usually harvested in May or June, is lighter due to the color of the nectar and pollen of early spring flowers. Summer honey, usually harvested in late August or September, is typically darker.

Summer introduces a whole new family of native wildflowers. If it ever stops raining for more than a day, the honeybees will meet this year's late-summer blooms, which start emerging in July. I can't wait to see what outrageous colors Ma Nature splashes across the city!

1 comment:

  1. I read 'The Secret Life of Bees' a few years back and the most memorable part of the whole book was the purple honey. I don't really remember how they ended up with purple honey but I think that the bees had been pollenating some nearby berry bushes which begs the question, why haven't we planted more berry bushes?!?!?!?!