The Bee Tree

“If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live.” 
~ Albert Einstein

One of my favourite afternoon farm chores is filling up the cattle troughs. When I walk down to the pump house that sits beside our spring-fed dam, I go through a fenced off area that has been created as a wildlife corridor. It’s shaded in there and cool beside the little dam, and you’d think it should be quiet.

Well, it is mostly quiet.  Except for this odd hum.

The hum’s not from the pump.  The hum comes from the bee tree.

You first notice it as you pause to open the gate. It’s only the faintest of sounds, but it sits underneath everything like an electric buzz.

As you get closer, the hum becomes louder. It took me ages to work out where it was coming from. I stood looking over at the pump house, listening… I walked and listened.  I stood still and listened. There it was.  A gentle, melodic hum.

As I rested beside a big old camphor, hand resting on the tree, I began to feel the hum! I placed my ear against the nobbly bark. The whole tree was abuzz.

Upon further investigation I found a hollow at the base. It was a bee airport, busy with afternoon take-offs and landings. A wild hive, tucked away safely inside this giant tree.

I gazed up into its branches, with a crazy kind of happiness.  A bee tree!  Right here on my farm. The day I discovered the bee tree I was as excited as a child.

There is something precious about this tree to me.  I can’t quite tell you why. And I’m grateful for these bees, and the hard work they do, pollinating all the crops and trees, and keeping our world fertile and lush.

On hot days the tree smells of honey, and the ground at the base is shiny and sweet with the drip from the combs.  But the hive is well protected, and outside our reach. Long may the Queen and her bees reign!

To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee,

One clover, and a bee,

And revery.

The revery alone will do,

If bees are few.
~ Emily Dickinson

11 thoughts on “The Bee Tree

  1. How wonderful and how connected, on iur walk this morning we stood under ‘Big Red’ a huge blooming pointsena shaded in a rosy hue. Later I looked down at myself and I am covered in pollen. I’d been pollenated….so today I am on a bee walk. Blessings Nicole xxxx

  2. A Bee Tree, I never heard it put that way before. We have bees living in a hollowed out broken branch in our front yard in a huge (approx) 125 year old oak tree. They seem to come and go throughout the year and at times there are only a few, but other times, there are a lot of them, enough that a neighbor heard all that humming from his yard next door. LOL! We just try to get in the front door without letting any of them get in the house. But now I know I have a Bee Tree! I like that. 🙂

  3. Hi Nicole, thank you, this took me back to my own childhood on the farm.

    Australia is most fortunate, we are the only country on the planet to not have our bee colonies either in the wild or in commercial hives, infected with the “beehive aphid”. We export clean bees all over the world because of this. However, the aphid pest threat is in both New Guinea and New Zealand, all that protects us is the water between us, and customs! One lone and brave scientist in Australia is looking for the solution to the threat, and he needs our prayers and blessings as much as anyone. I would not like to think that one day we could discover that Einstein’s quote was accurate!

  4. We have bees that turn up every year at the same time (the week of my Husband’s birthday) and make a hive in my compost bin! Its become a bit of a yearly ritual with my Husband proclaiming “They’re baaaaack” – He’s scared witless by them I adore them – that disagreement too has become a ‘yearly ritual’ I’m honoured that they choose our garden… 🙂

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