Lancaster County, PA

I recently returned from a trip to my childhood milieu in Lancaster County, PA. As always, I was both refreshed and inspired by the grand trees and flora of this rich and potent land. The mature wisteria, which has draped the long porch of the farmhouse where I grew up, was vibrantly green and lush creating a warm umbrella of greens dressing the front door. I always have loved entering the house beneath its shading welcome. I am reminded, each time I walk beneath it, of childhood years of waiting for it to bloom – the true sign that the school year was about to close and the bees to become fiercely awake and productive.

Living in the desert, I’m always on a search while in PA for specimens to take back to the quiet desert for inspiration and reminders. My uncle graciously delivered a bundle of blooming purple (red) clover from his field for me. I collected specimens of white blooming clover and one lonely, blooming dandelion. The dandelions always are a welcome presence for me reminding me to “never stop growing”. They are not plentiful in bloom this time of year, but they continue to grow relentlessly. I love the springtime when they dot the landscape with brilliant yellows in yards, meadows – everywhere! And who has not enjoyed the delight of making a dandelion link bracelet as a child?

My current inclination toward the clover and dandelions likely stems from my weeping heart for the current plight of the honeybee. My grandfather always raised bees on our farm, and we took them for granted for decades. My younger brother has begun carrying on the tradition as he learns the art of beekeeping. He has three new hives on the farm and is learning – as he loses bees. I believe the alarming status of the honeybee to be a profound ‘wake-up call” kind of message to all of us – to give grave attention to what we are collectively doing to our bees and vital insect world – to Mother Earth at large. The bee is said to be symbolic as a messenger between heaven and earth, and I believe they are indeed. Perhaps the honeybee is calling to us for dramatic changes in the way we care for Mother Earth. The rapidly declining honeybee population, combined with colony collapse disorder, warrants unprecedented attention from all of us. The use of pesticides – growing ever more prevalent and in alarmingly stronger doses gives reason to capture our attention profoundly. Without the honeybee, many of the foods (over 30%) we enjoy on a daily basis will indeed disappear.

And so, I will begin my research, as always, surrounding the honeybees’ favorite plants to visit and its habits. Time will tell what treasures will unfold, if any, at the clay table from my work – and what vessel might next appear as a warm and intimate appeal to our hearts.

To learn more about the plight of the honeybee, I recommend reading A Spring Without Bees, by Michael Schacker.;

Each of us can plant a bee friendly garden, and use environmentally friendly pest control to do our part in insuring the survival and health of the honeybee kingdom – and our future food supply. May we do so – now – with joyful, grateful hearts.