I Love You, Honey Bee

I love honey, always have. It was the first sandwich I was able to make all by myself and I still remember the sense of accomplishment, of independence, of conquering the edges of the grown-up world that previously had been out of my reach. I smeared the thick honey on slices of white bread, back when we all ate white bread, wrapped the culinary creation in waxed paper, stuffed it in my pocket, and delivered it to my dad for an impromptu picnic while he was busy clearing land for summer pasture for our cattle. He never complained about the state of the honey sandwich, crushed and mangled, that we shared, while finding shade in the shadow of the tractor’s wheel.
I can see the label on the small white tub of creamed honey, but I can’t quite get at its name in the corners of my memory. Cloverleaf seems a possibility, but I can’t be certain, can’t trust the accuracy of that image. I tell myself my brain is so full of other details it no longer has room for names of honey, for logarithms, or where I left my glasses. I hope that’s the reason.
Honey on toast is my go-to breakfast now when I need a taste of my childhood, which is a fairly regular “need”, especially these days when we feel so isolated from one another, so separated from loved ones, our purpose muddled. I eat about five kilograms of raw honey every year, so I do my part to keep honey bees gainfully employed.
CNN reports that humans have been loving honey since the Stone Age, with beeswax on pottery “dating as far back as 7000 BC”, so I am merely keeping pace with our very distant ancestors. If a thousand or so years from now, some future scientist is sifting through the clues of our society, I would like to think she would shout out to her compatriots after examining my remains, “We’ve got another honey-eater over here!”
The honey bee is an amazing creature; this is not breaking news. The bees have been producing honey using the same methods for 150 million years, according to matteroftrust.org. We throw up our hands in this crazy world, claiming what can one person do, but the honey bee will make 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime, and will gather nectar from fifty to a hundred flowers in one outing. That’s the female bee. The male bee sits around back at the hive with his feet up, for only one purpose, and he doesn’t even have a stinger. The bad news for Mr. Drone is, when the hive goes into survival mode for the winter, the drones are kicked to the curb.
Cleopatra used honey as part of her daily beauty regime, because of honey’s ability to retain moisture. I’ve eaten so much honey in my sixty-five years, the expression “beauty begins on the inside” applies to me, even if that’s as far as beauty got. I think it’s a little late now to start patting honey on my face. I’ve passed my best before date and I really can’t be bothered. I’ve never had a beauty regime so why start now.
Honey is one of very few foods that contains pinocembrin, an antioxidant credited with improved brain function. Maybe if I upped my honey-intake I could perform logarithms again, though that might take quite a bit of honey. For now, I’ll continue with my honey on toast and my grateful admiration for the honey bee.
wendistewart@live.ca