In 2019 a fellow bee lover discovered a nest living in a chestnut tree near our land. It is still going strong in 2020. When I sat by them I knew that my true journey with bees was being answered. To be part of the human contribution to support them living in the trees. This symbiotic relationship is a vital requirement for ecosystem health - their separation is causing great harm. I only know this for myself from sitting with the bees in the trees.
In 2020 there was a pause and we had to remain still on the land, all plans put on hold. Here was a great opportunity for me. I looked at our journey with the bees and felt a kind of uselessness. If my dream was to see the honey bees thriving in the trees, I couldn’t suddenly create old trees with cavities for them to live in. We live in a pine monoculture region, the natural forests destroyed to plant trees for building materials. I wondered if I had a role any longer that aligned with my own truth.
Through the year I walked a great deal through the valleys around our land and I came across more and more ancient chestnut trees amongst the monoculture. On one of these walks a peace arrived. Here we are transforming the pine monoculture and everywhere on our land the chestnut and oak saplings are bursting through. The old story is dying, we are part of bringing back a healthy mixed forest once again. I realised that the true results of my personal work will not be seen in my lifetime. That maybe in a few hundred years a swarm of bees may arrive into the trees on our land. This timescale was really hard for me to accept, my head saying, 'we are in ecosystem collapse now, I can’t wait this long'. Yet my heart knows when I sit with the bees in the trees, there is no doubt to my role. Once upon a time humans made decisions based on the next 7 generations.
So writing this for the Free Living Bees website, my hope is that others experience the magic of bees in the wild, of a swarm or just simply being next to the wonder that is the honey bee. For now we continue with the land regeneration work and my pondering at the moment is, if you can create a safe haven for bees across 10 hectares, why not 100 hectares? I am curious to what the coming years will bring and if more humans remember we are guardians of Earth, not controllers.