Foraging bees begin their life outside the hive 3 - 4 weeks into their lifespan. When a nectar-collecting bee comes back to the hive, she finds a younger home bee. The younger bee, living in the darkness of the hive, extends her proboscis, and in a life affirming kiss, sucks the nectar out of her foraging sister. Next she takes it to the prepared hex-shaped empty comb to begin the ripening process.
Bee feeding each other from Beekeeping Pictures
On Monday I turned 30. It was a simple affair involving Indian take-out, fudgey chocolate cake, family and a few friends. Among them was my oldest friend of 30 years, Katy. In some ways, Katy and I are near opposites. As babies she was nut-brown with adorable dark curls. I was blonde, nearly hairless, and looked like a boy. I became the fairy princess and sports failure, she became a basketball star. I'm a musician with long dark hair. She's a scientist with short, cropped hair. But.... we get each other. We have emergency coffee dates in the morning by the river. We go to the farmers market and buy flowers and peaches. We make fun of our families together.
Last month Katy bought a cookie for my partner, Cole. Cole was late. Katy decided to eat this one, and buy him another. I had just eaten, but being pregnant at the time meant that cookie looked awfully necessary in my belly. She shared. She always shares. Then she told me a story. She had run into Sharon, our old pre-school teacher the other day. If you're lucky, most times you run into Sharon, she has some little piece of memory you've forgotten about those precious years of 3 and 4. This time it was phrases. Apparently Sharon and her aid used to pick out phrases that belonged to each kid. The type of thing that defined the child, and was heard often, such as "More juice" or "Superwow." In all the years of Stepping Stones Pre-School, there was only one circumstance where two children had the same catch phrase. It was Katy and I, naturally. Katy and I shared two imaginary friend brothers, so why not our catch phrase? I asked Katy what the famous words might be, and she responded: "Here, have mine!"
We bought another cookie for Cole. We shared that one too.
Today a friend told me that when a honeybee travels too far and has become depleted, another bee from the hive may come to her aid. First, the lively bee assesses whether or not the tired bee is in the natural process of dying from old age. If not, the helper bee will actually feed her sister some of her own nectar so that she may regain the strength to return to the hive. I couldn't help but think of Katy.
So, in the nature of Honey-Nectar and 30 years of sharing: Here, Have Mine.