The Mothering of Bumble Bees



Bees are remarkable insects.  Dedicating themselves completely to their colony, willing even to give their lives in defense of it, and without ever a thought of reward or appreciation, these little buzzing wonders embody such pure mother-energy as can be found in nature.

Last Sunday, amidst my own various matronly duties, I had a bit of a run-in with just such a creature.  While folding laundry, I noticed a stumbling bumble bee on the windowsill just inches from my fingers.

After my initial reaction of jumping back from a bee, I looked at this beautiful creature with great pity.  Somehow it had been trapped inside the house, probably from this window being opened, and could not escape.  It was evident from this little bee’s blunderings on the windowsill that it was disoriented, exhausted, and had been imprisoned for some time.  It was dying.

I resolved to save it.  I opened the window, but my little bee was too weak to fly.  My daughter happened to be playing outside, and I called to her.  We worked as a team, she on the outside and me on the inside, to free this little bee.  I somehow persuaded the bee to crawl onto a sock, and with some nimble maneuverings negotiated the sock onto the edge of the windowsill to pass to my daughter.  Of course, it is a lot to ask of a child to handle a tiny sock with a bee crawling on it, and alas both the sock and its passenger fell to the ground.  My daughter bent over, and peering down informed me that the bee did not leave the sock.

I left my pile of laundry and came outside to inspect.  Yes, there was the bee, tottering on the sock, hardly moving save to attempt keeping its balance, and it was doing a poor job even of that.

My daughter was anxious; she did not want to get stung.  Perhaps, she thought, we should just leave it alone.  That would have been the easy thing to do; she could get back to her game, and I could to return to my mountains of laundry, and we could both avoid a potential insect sting. But my heart was breaking, and swelling, for this little bee.  I shan’t stop now.  Into the house I ran, up the steps and into the kitchen.  Here I grabbed a wooden spoon, and upon it I drizzled a few drops of raw honey and a few drops of water, just for good measure.

I arrived to the back yard, where my brave girl kept a cautious yet close watch on our little friend.  We carefully dripped our honey onto a dried brown leaf left from the winter.  At first our bee did not respond at all.  It seemed not to notice nor to care.  Finally, we sort of wiped the leaf on its little bee face.

Oh, the excitement that ensued!  This suddenly large tube (proboscis) emerged from somewhere hidden in its little head, and went to business like a living broom/vacuum attachment.  It slurped every last drop of honey while the back segments of its body gyrated.  My daughter dashed back upstairs for more honey, and returned with both the honey and her brother.  Our bee fervently vacuumed the honey with its efficient and rather magical attachment, while we each volunteered our own delighted and bubbling commentary.  Then…flight!  It took a victory lap, buzz buzz buzz in a circle around us, and with great satisfaction we watched it zig zag away.

We did it.  We saved a life.   We were, all three of us in that moment, triumphant mothers, and felt such exhilaration as cannot be explained by the saving of an insect.   This mother energy that we embodied also changed something once viewed as fearful and dangerous into something dear, loved, and curiously funny;  for I have noticed in the days since our little intervention, neither of the children now run from bumble bees, but actually tag along behind them in the yard, giggling at their drunken antics among the wildflowers.

These little mothering bumble bees work for each other,  protect each other, and that is all they see, all they know.  Yet there is a much bigger reality of which they play a crucial role, and to this reality they are blind.  For, these little buzzing bees are the Earth’s pollinators, and without them many a living creature, including humans, could not survive.  Thus, in the wake of their buzzing wings and gyrating bodies, they birth new life into the fresh springtime gardens and orchards and wild forests of the world.

To this end, I would like to, on this Mother’s Day, honor and appreciate all of you magical mystical bumblebees in my life, tending to your individual spirit-gardens with such love and care.  How the vibrancy of your flowers delights and encourages, how your sweet nectar nourishes and sustains.

To the healer who tended the growth of magical dandelions, honoring the last breaths of a dying tree,

To the exquisitely lovely Ms. Magoo, navigating her vessel through life and motherhood with such tender skill and care, that the salt water sprays my face and falls from my eyes by the depth of her words,

To the exquisite life-dancer bringing beauty, humor, and grace to every corner of the world she touches, to every corner of the humans she befriends, even to her own eager-to-please appliance Hilde,

To the mystical philosopher who, upon finding a tiny stranded fish on the ocean’s shore, stopped his strolling and his musings to wade chest high in the cold water to save it,

To the stand-up spiritual comedian, bringing laughter and enlightenment through blogs and Hafiz,

To the man who works more than he should to support his homeschooling wife and their three children; who returns from the stiff corporate board rooms to be tackled and hugged, who sits on the floor and sings silly songs and shakes baby rattles with his disabled 7 year old, who spreads the seeds of wildflowers and sunflowers and delights in the birds enjoying them,

To my own mother and father and sister, for all the crazy humor and freedom and support you bestow upon me,

Happy Mother’s Day.  I am renewed, I am refreshed, I am enlivened, and my garden grows fruitful and lush, because of you.




About Andrea

My name is Andrea. I grew up on the east coast of Florida, yet throughout my life have bopped around to live in Wisconsin, Mississippi, California, Georgia, and at the moment Massachusetts. I am a wife and mother of three, the youngest having Down Syndrome. I love dancing, laughing, contemplating, travelling, deep conversation and reading. I am a spiritual explorer. And really, all of this description is just superfluous. Really I am just as we all are; Divine conciousness discovering itself, playing the game of life.

13 responses to “The Mothering of Bumble Bees

  1. I love your descriptive writing. Your story today was inspirational as I am reminded of the little things we can do to breathe love and life, encouragement into another life. I am especially touched by your thankful spirit for those in your life who bring joy to your own heart. Happy Mother’s Day Andrea! You are doing a great job of mothering.

    • Happy Mother’s Day to you too Heather! I am amazed at the love surrounding me, especially in these warm spring days when love is literally blooming under our toes. (Although in your neck of the…jungle, I think perhaps love blooms year-round!) We miss you all and love you very much, and send much happy buzzing to you and family!

  2. Bees are awesome. Somewhere along the way I picked up the factoid that Rudolph Steiner (I think) said or wrote once that “bees are love.” I found this quote below searching for some evidence to validate this dim memory:

    “That which we experience within ourselves only at a time when our hearts develop love is actually the very same thing that is present as a substance in the entire beehive. The whole beehive is permeated with life based on love. In many ways the bees renounce love, and thereby this love develops within the entire beehive.”

    Your posts infuse me with the knowing I have somehow found my way to a WP hive filled with love, for which I am wholly grateful.


    • Ah, bees are love. That is fantastic on its own, but even better to know Steiner said it. He is the man, and feeds the fires of my inspiration for homeschooling. And I agree, my love for this WP hive, if bees are love, is then equal to one million bees. Now I’m off to find a cozy little nectar-pub inside a flower…perhaps my favorite comic/bard will be on stage in there, offering his delicous enlightenments. 🙂

      • Steiner was pretty amazing. I wish some days I knew a bit more about him. I have a book or two on the shelf I haven’t managed to wholly give myself to yet. It is kind of like that feeling of not requiring facts. I have read a little about biodynamic farming, which I loved to explore on the level of ideas, and a lot about the work of Viktor Schauberger which I think dovetails fairly nicely. I seem to have a funky connection with things in that part of the world. For a while I did some work with Grander Technology, a water treatment technology developed by Johann Grander, an inventor who lived in the Alps. Those words of course don’t do any human justice. But, I was just reminded in writing here of the “character” that different parts of the world seem to foster. Anyway, offering your children a Steiner-inspired home-school beginning sounds pretty wonderful!


    • This is what is in the cue to listen to on my ipod (the list which was looked over just yesterday on a consumption assessment!) :

      Love the overlapping links. -x.M

    • section is 17:35 – 24:45 🙂

      queens are the mothers of the hive and the hive creates the queen. she carries out the will. secrets of the bees they reveal slowly.

  3. Immediately I thought of this:

    Your words are so kind and it is a lovely feeling to be seen and appreciated. I see and appreciate right back at you deep diver you…dives that come back with such pearls to share.

    Each life experience can be so deep, so precious. Thank you for sharing yours so generously with us. -x.M

    • M, you are so rich with shares! I love your comments and blog, as they always arrive with wise words and deep shares. I have not yet sampled all the above, though I plan some private time this weekend to do just that. T (9 year old) and I had fun dancing around to the above. He says it really does sound like a bee! Glad to have this group of mirror mirrors on the wall. I see such ‘fairness’ in us all!

  4. I adore this story in every way – the glimpse of laundry, danger, rescue, honey and 2nd chances! We have moved so far beyond Jung’s beetle showing up in a therapy session!
    If I can piggyback on Ms. M – It is so wonderful to be seen and I too see you right back and so relish in the gift of getting to dive into your rich, intelligent, deep sharing. I have been thrust into a cathedral of souls who fill the table and the goblets with nourishment that goes on forever – we are entertained with dancing and music, and the silk pillows are placed just so for resting – what a royal banquet of friendship!
    I adore the Steiner connections – waiting for a break to listen to N’s Steiner share…Maymester, whew!
    “Honeybees depend not only on physical contact with the colony, but also require it’s social companionship and support. Isolate a honeybee from her sisters and she will soon die.”
    ― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees:
    “You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside”
    ― Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
    Time to go to the bus stop; these days are numbered for me, thus seem sweet like honey again, moments in the car to visit and share our days, or even just ride in quiet exhaustion in the flow of life. Love you so, dear friend! m

  5. M, love these quotes! Thank you for seeing me, and letting me see you. I find such upliftment, clarity, peace, and inspiration in this little WP land. So happy you ladies gave me directions. 🙂

  6. Cecile, AKA Miss Kitty

    Thank you for the beautiful way you honored all mothers, especially your own.

  7. I just chanced upon your site and soon became enchanted by this story; I think partly because I’ve rescued a bee or two myself in the past, and know how gratifying that is. Well done!

    With gratitude and respect.

    Hariod Brawn.

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