Reading one of the recent posts from Faraday’s Candle on Where are the Bees? brought about a piece of memory from my childhood that was related to a colony of bees.
It brought me back to when I was probably 3 or 4 years old in our old, since-demolished home from more than 3 decades ago. All I have now in my photo archive is one faded, grainy picture of me when I was young in that home, playing with stuff in one of the rooms.
I remember really well that we used to have a beehive right on the roof of our home. And what I distinctly remembered most about it was that every day, there would be dead bees on the floor, and, because we go about bare-footed in our home (a very typical Asian culture), the risk of stepping on them and get stung was high.
As careful as I was since my very first encounter with bee sting, I still somehow got stung every now and again. And, so did the rest of my family members. I also remembered how I would get mad at the bees for stinging me and I was puzzling over the fact that they could still sting when they were already very dead.
I remember how my parents would then carefully tried to take the stinger out before we head out to the doctor for further assessment. And I remember how my feet or hands would get numb and swelled up, more than I care to remember. And, until the swelling subsided, I would not be able to walk for a few days.
After getting stung by dead bees several times just because I had accidentally stepped on them, I remember whining to my parents asking them to get rid of the hives. But they would have none of it. At that age, all I had was animosity towards bees, but learnt quite quickly to live around their existence.
Years later, the stories about the bees and how they were a big part of our lives at one point in time are still being told in our family. My parents would describe how the fresh honey would be dripping in abundance right from the hives regularly, so much so that they ran out of containers to collect the honey; some wasted away as they got flushed out by the rain or landed on the dirty floor.
It was then I understood the significance of it all. My parents felt blessed and were ever so thankful with the fresh honey they got regularly, feeling privileged that that the queen bee had randomly chosen their roof for her colony. What finally happened to them, I don’t quite remember – I have to ask my parent about it again one day.
Looking back, what a memory that was! One that was filled with so much childhood nostalgia.
I am a big advocate of preserving nature and in raising awareness to the dwindling numbers of bees, it is my hope that there is something we can do to bring their numbers back up to bring back the balance in our ecosystem.