So how do you follow a bee? I have this prolific lavender bush in my garden and I regularly pick the elegant stems that smell so luxuriously of France and there is always a buzz of clever bees hanging around. What I want now is the honey they produce that must be infused with this delicately delicious lavender.
I’ve just been writing about communities and how important they are – from the family, a microcosm, to the greater community – local, national, global and so on. The symbiotic relationship and how everything fits together has such an incredible impact on each of us individually. That’s what got me thinking about the bees. They are so incredibly focussed and each knows exactly what to do. You don’t find (or maybe you do) a rebellious or lazy bee who hangs out at the corner store trying to score cheap pollen (but then maybe those are the ones who hover over your can of coke at picnics).
I also recently interviewed someone who teaches the practise of mindfulness. We got to talking about mindfulness on a greater scale – moving away from being aware of your own self to perhaps the greater impact. For example, mindfulness will teach you to savour everything and be present in the moment, like drinking a cup of coffee. You’re to concentrate on the aroma, the feeling of warmth as it enters your mouth and moves into your body, etc. But what if you meander further in your thoughts –picture the coffee bean growing, the people who pick those beans (what of their lives and communities), the sacks they’re stored in for transport, the roasting process, the haggling over prices, the packaging and labelling, and more.
Herman Hess wrote a book called The Glass Bead Game which is an extraordinary exploration of thought and how our thoughts are interrelated even though you may start off a conversation or track from perhaps a cup of coffee and end up talking or thinking about the tradition of hot dogs on New York sidewalks. The connections between our thoughts are much like the connections in communities – sometimes tenuous, but intricately linked nonetheless, fuelling each other and leading from one place to the next in a flow that’s meaningful.
Well, having gone from bee following to thought connectedness, in the space of a few short minutes, I’ve managed international travel and a glimpse of other people’s lives, thoughts, traditions, needs, wants and desires. I’ve given thought to the world and to myself.
And now I stand, me, in this extraordinarily rich and full planet, in one small space, surrounded by the seductive scent of fresh lavender and the soft buzzing of bees doing what they do best.
How delightful, abundant and awe-inspiring the world is today.