The Buzz about Bees ; Lord Tennyson Calling Rewrite: Make It 'Murmuring of Innumerable BOOKS'

By Walker, Ruth | The Christian Science Monitor, April 12, 2005 | Go to article overview

The Buzz about Bees ; Lord Tennyson Calling Rewrite: Make It 'Murmuring of Innumerable BOOKS'


Walker, Ruth, The Christian Science Monitor


After immersing myself in three new books on beekeeping and honey, I now find myself with a new role model: I want to be a honeybee when I grow up.

Honeybees are relentlessly on task, orderly, efficient, industrious, free of ego static, and mindful of others; in a bee- brained sort of way, that is.

They travel Magellanesque distances. They distill vast fields of flowers into a golden substance that has been sweetening the lives of man and beast for millenniums.

As a sideline, bees facilitate the sexual commerce of much of the plant kingdom, to the point that they are critical to the production cycle of entire agricultural sectors, notably almonds, cucumbers, and watermelons.

Bees' contributions to their ecosystems are immense. Emily Dickinson wasn't just being poetic, and wasn't even exaggerating much, when she wrote:

"To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee."

Beeswax was a significant source of illumination for much of history, and had countless uses in manufacturing and cosmetics as well. Bees were even used in warfare, in ancient times and beyond, when hives were used as a form of "smart enough" bomb that could be lobbed at the enemy.

And around the world, across a wide range of cultures and traditions, humanity's connection with domesticated bees seems to have something almost spiritual about it; bees give a whole new meaning to the phrase "good vibrations."

In short, bees have so much to recommend them as objects of study that we perhaps should not be surprised that no less than four new general-interest tomes on bees and honey have come out more or less simultaneously within the past month.

The fourth to arrive, too late for this review, alas, is Hattie Ellis's globe-girdling "Sweetness & Light: The Mysterious History of the Honeybee," borne to the US on favorable critical winds for the British edition.

"Robbing the Bees" grows out of New York writer Holley Bishop's desire to connect authentically with her new environment after she had bought a house in Connecticut.

She thought, after watching a neighbor's small beekeeping operation, that having a couple of hives would be a way of getting into livestock in a small way. (She was only partly right.)

Her title comes from an expression beekeepers use to speak of gathering honey. Bees produce honey by instinct; even after their hive's own needs have been met, the machine doesn't shut off. As long as beekeepers provide the structures for bees to make honeycombs, bees will fill them. This is a benign and symbiotic theft.

Bishop's book is organized thematically, with sections on honey itself (of course) and also pollination, wax, venom, and military applications. She introduces us to Florida beekeeper Donald Smiley, whom she met on the Internet when she went searching for a more experienced apiarist to guide her own venture into beekeeping.

Smiley serves both as a mentor and as a convenient protagonist for her narrative as she cuts back and forth between him and the larger panorama of the world of bees. His casual application of honey to a minor wound sustained in his workshop, for instance, provides a segue to a discussion of medicinal uses of honey.

In "Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation," Tammy Horn focuses on the United States and soldiers chronologically.

But she introduces some big political ideas that are very much worth knowing about; for instance, the concept of the American colonies having been "hived off" from England. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Buzz about Bees ; Lord Tennyson Calling Rewrite: Make It 'Murmuring of Innumerable BOOKS'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.