What's the buzz?

Let it be known up front that I initially wanted ants to represent us.  They are industrious little creatures and a fine biblical example to follow (Proverbs 6:6-8).  But something in my heart gave in to those beautiful little honeybees.  Perhaps it was my fond memories of family bee-keeping, warm honey sandwiches and helping make the sugar water my father fed the bees in late winter.  Maybe I was enamored by the A.A. Milne's delightful telling of Pooh's misadventures as he disguised himself as a rain cloud and tried to get the bees' honey stash.  It could be that my heart was touched by the current deadly dilemma that threatens bees world-wide.  I don't know what so easily swayed my decision, but I am convinced that honeybees do indeed represent Everyday Providence perfectly.

Bees have long fascinated us.  In ancient Egypt, bees were said to spring up wherever Ra's tears touched the sand.  If a bee touched an infants lips, the Greeks believed that child would be given the gift of verse.  God promised the enslaved Israelite people a land flowing with milk and honey.  Cretan mead (a fermented honey drink) is thought to be older than wine.

Honeybees embody many of the traits that Everyday Providence tries to support.
Bees care for their young, feeding them and cleaning them in their "beds" of honeycomb.
Bees protect one another.  They protect the queen, their young, and the hive to their death if needed.
Bees take advantage of resources.  They store up whatever good pollen or nectar is available.
Bees make judgments.  They determine whether a "foreigner" (bee, bug, animal or human) entering the hive is friend or foe.
Bees select their raw materials carefully.  Lesser quality pollen may be rejected or removed.
Bees store up for the winter.  They buzz around inside the hive all winter, snacking from the pantry.
Bees get organized.  Every bee does it's specified job, and each section of the hive is neat as a pin.
Bees get to work.  They start collecting pollen as soon as it's warm enough to fly. (50 degrees)
Bees solve community issues.  If the hive is too crowded, some move on but some stay behind.
Bees do what it takes.  In literally an instant, bees will switch jobs when needed.
Bees think things through.  They find the most efficient route between locations.
Bees take a vote.  Scout bees (looking for flowers or a new hive location) must convince the swarm to follow them, but they decide as a group.
Bees "talk."  They use "waggle dances" and pheromones to give directions and communicate needs.

I hope you enjoy our choice of little mascots.  I hope to keep some bees on my someday farm.  May we each be as fruitful and faithful to the task as they are.

For more information online about bees and bee-keeping, try:
The New York Times
Nova: Dance with Bees
Silence of the Bees (video)
or check your local library for books of all sorts.

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