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  • Writer's pictureRobin Adkison

Bee Engaged

Today is World Bee Day. I looked it up. I worry about the bees... and the birds. Rachel Carson's, A Silent Spring, will never be a book I forget, even though I read it probably 25 years ago or so. Her book was published in 1962. I remember reading it when we moved to the farm in 1986; it was already over 20 years old. That fact gave me comfort that people were paying attention and taking measures to change. Carson was a pioneer in researching the adverse effects of chemicals, specifically pesticides, on the environment and humans. She was diligent in engaging the scientific community in the possibility of the chemical applications of DDT and other pesticides as being carcinogenic. DuPont and a few other large chemical companies threatened to sue Carson if she released her book, and actively campaigned to have the book discredited. For all the notoriety and acclaimed honors the book has garnered since then, there is one part of the book that always stuck with me. The revelation that Carson had a penchant for going out at night with a flashlight to observe what nature offered when the dark shrouded the landscape. I felt I could stand in that starlight with her and let nature envelope me... engage me in the mysteries. I often walked our gravel road at night to look at the farmhouse and barn through the lens of shadow and dark. The household and animals send out peace in their settled, slow and measured breath. I prefer no flashlight; I prefer only a sliver or a full moon to guide my feet as I walk outdoors in the dark. To be honest, I'm not sure anyone knew I was out there, which made it even better.

Today, I will hear calls from children checking to see if I'm still outside and okay. "I'm okay," I answer back and think that age has made it harder to be missing from the lights of the home. Rachel was known for rolling up her pant legs and wading in the tide pools. Silent Spring poured out of her heart at the end of her career. She was known for loving the sea and spoke of our life developing in the sea of the womb. Carson took on the caring of her family while she was in graduate school: Her mother, father, sister, nieces and later a nephew.

In the "Right Way to Remember Rachel Carsen," it was noted that 'The domestic pervades Carson’s understanding of nature. “Wildlife, it is pointed out, is dwindling because its home is being destroyed,” she wrote in 1938, “but the home of the wildlife is also our home.” If she’d had fewer ties, she would have had less insight.' I see this as her view of nurturing, just as the earth is also womb, in my opinion.

And why does this matter? There are so many days set aside for acknowledgement: Earth Day, Agriculture Day, Audubon Day, you name it. How can we be engaged in it all? It matters because bees represent everything in nature through diversity. Diversity is strength. Biodiversity is all the different kinds of life you'll find in one area—the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and even microorganisms like bacteria that make up our natural world. Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life. It matters. And pollinators are critical to biodiversity. Seventy-five percent of crops depend on pollinators.

Bee engaged. Feed the bees with a diverse garden menu. Hold a child's hand and walk outside in the dark. Whisper in a reverent breath about the diverse and nurturing life of our earth home. Listen for the voices of frogs, owls, crickets, coyotes and maybe someone calling out to see if you're okay out there. Let them know, All is Well. Make it so.

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