Bee Serious!

Apr 27, 2014 | 1 comment

Thea's Celebration

Thea’s Celebration

It was just as we were leaving the celebration of Thea Pyle’s life yesterday afternoon that we walked around the corner of the house and came to the bee wall.  Neither of us was a bit surprised to see it.  I don’t know if that’s because “after all, it Bob and Thea’s house” or maybe Bob has written about cohabiting with bees in one of his many books.  But, no matter the reason, we stood for a while, bemused by the busy in-and-out activity.

We hadn’t been inside that particular back room and, as we gazed from the outside, I did wonder if the buzzing could be heard within, if there was a window of some kind allowing a peek into the privacy of the hive and how it all came about in the first place.  Bob was busy with his guests – scores of them from all over the country and from beyond our borders, as well – so I didn’t ask.

On Loop Road

On Loop Road

But, I thought about Leo (whose last name escapes me just now) who taught at the nearby junior high school in the 1960s when I was teaching a Southgate Elementary School in Hayward, California.  Leo taught biology and, in one wall of his classroom was a gigantic built-in hive with glass walls.

Kids who were lucky enough to take Leo’s class could track the bee activity for a semester or more.  Friends who were ‘lucky’ enough to know Leo were occasionally called upon to rescue a swarm though I’m not clear where he put the new group of bees.  Maybe he had empty hives in his garden just for such a purpose.

Bob's Bee Wall

Bob’s Bee Wall

As Nyel and I were enjoying Bob’s bees, a man came upon us from the other direction.  Before he could take in the scene, he said with some alarm, “Watch out for the bees!”  We pointed out the three exit/entrances in the wall and he seemed absolutely appalled.  “Do you think Bob did that on purpose?” he asked.  “I don’t like bees,” he said backing away.

We could only conclude that he didn’t know the Pyles very well at all.   And I wondered briefly how it could be that he didn’t share the world’s growing concern about diminishing bee populations and how we can help – maybe not by having a bee wall, but by planting bee-friendly flowers and avoiding chemicals and pesticides in our gardens.  And I thought about our friend Nancy Allen who recently purchased hives and is embarking on a backyard bee-keeping venture.  Which led me to think about our desire to do the same and the impracticalities given Oysterville’s frequent bear visitations.

the Middle Entrance

The Middle Entrance

It was a lovely, thought provoking day.  The food was delicious, the beverages varied, the company diverse.  The rug half-finished on the loom, the display of photographs and of Thea’s artwork, the slide show, and even the flowers beginning to bloom in the garden – all evoked thoughts of beautiful Thea.  But the bees… the bees seemed to be all about Bob.  I hope to learn more about that someday.

1 Comment

  1. Nancy

    Beautiful story, beautifully shared. What great thought and care to create homes for the bees.


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