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Beekeepers Journal: May 2023

Beekeeper Joe Shea writes:

Some years the month of May is a complete wash out: Not enough warmth or sunshine in the apple orchard to sweeten the nectar so the scout honeybees can track the fragrance back to the bright white blossoms.

And some years we get so many southwesterlies, Ireland feels like Jamaica. For a few days anyway.

It’s good to go down to the apple orchard on one of those sunny days in May. Best to go when nobody knows you’re gone and nobody knows where you are (and you’ve left the phone at home). There to stand in awe gazing upward at the honeybees in the shimmering apple blossoms.

No need to wax eloquent or even try to find words. But for a few moments to shed yourself of knowledge and conceit. To stop and bear witness to this, one of life’s pure joys; the bees in the apple blossoms in the sun.

You don’t have to be a beekeeper, or an environmentalist, or a spiritualist to appreciate this is one of life’s luxurious experiences.

But don’t take it for granted.

Turn your back for a moment, and the chance is gone. Some cold wind blows in to dash the bees back to the hives, the blossoms to the four corners, and the old beekeeper to his kitchen nook. To sit with his mug of tea…and mull it all over until next time.

Joe Shea is the beekeeper at Mourne Grange, a Camphill Community in the Mourne Mountains of County Down.


Robb Walsh