Bees and Joy

Meadowsong Apiary

Bees and Joy

December was a challenging month for the bees here in York Co, where normally ‘the drones are strong, the workers are good looking, and all of the brood is above average.’  Daily temperatures averaged 10o below normal which, together with some strong winds, meant that the girls were unable to get out on their cleansing flights and the chances of a proliferation of nosema spore in the guts of the bees were increased. 


So what joy, on the last day of the year when the temperature reached the high 40’s, to see some activity in front of the hives.  A bright omen at the end of a difficult year.  And  those hives from which there was no stirrings were an anxious reminder of the challenges ahead. 


Watching the bees make those short flights with the tell-tale brown splotches led me to ask what it is that causes this warm, happy feeling.  For example,  


  • Going through a hive without a veil and not getting stung.
  • Finding the queen bee on the first frame removed from the deep.
  • A finger tip of honey straight from the hive.
  • Watching bees bring pollen back from the fields.
  • Finding a $20 bill in my coat from last winter.
  • A good conversation.
  • Getting a note from a friend in the mail box.
  • A real person answering the phone when I contact a business with a question.
  • An old friend reaching out via Facebook.
  • Accidentally overhearing something nice being said about me.
  • Watching the sun set or a full moon coming up over the horizon.
  • Lying in a warm bed on a cold night, or listening to the rain.
  • No lines at the supermarket, or green lights on the way to work. 
  • Hot towels out of the dryer.
  • Waking up and realizing I still have a few hours sleep.
  • An unexpected check in the mail.
  • A good hug.
  • A brisk walk under a starry sky.
  • Sitting on the porch swing in the evening.
  • The red flash when the cardinal comes to the bird feeder.
  • Humming birds feeding outside of the kitchen window.
  • The first daffodil of spring.
  • Sweet corn direct from the garden.
  • The smell of fresh cut hay.
  • A spontaneous picnic.
  • An owl hooting at night or a fox barking in the woods.
  • A train whistle in the distance.
  • Having my check book balance.
  • Finding something I really need on sale.
  • Smiles.



No doubt we each have our own list.  What is noticeable about the above is that money plays little role in most of the events that bring joy to the soul.  More often it is unexpected  acts of spontaneous kindness or surprising sounds and visions of beauty.  This is not to deny the importance of money, especially for those who are unfortunate not to have enough in a culture that exalts materialism, but money hopefully is never an end in itself.  


In 2002 Gallup conducted a poll of the perceptions of our dominant needs.  The top five were 


  • To believe life is meaningful and has purpose.
  • To have a sense of community and deeper relationships.
  • To be appreciated and respected.
  • To be listened to and heard.
  • To have practical help in developing a mature faith.



It is doubtful that that bees reflect on the meaning of life but certainly there is a sense of community, they seem to appreciate the role that each plays in the colony, and the consistent interactions suggest that they listen to and acknowledge one another. Their discussions probably do not include getting more pay as they move from being nurse bees to foragers, or wanting a gold key to the executive bathroom.


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Latest comments

27.11 | 16:01

Moustache, wax? Of course. Now if all of the drones had mustaches ...

27.11 | 12:43

One of our club members says he got into beekeeping in order to make his own mustache wax. There's the explanation for the bearded/mustached ABF attendees!

13.08 | 05:43

Good morning Mr. Barnes, I'm so pleased to see the best of history teachers is still going strong! Looking at your website brings back some great memories

21.05 | 07:18

Its pleasure to read about Boy Scout here. He plays vital role to serve humanity. I will share after my