BIO

When I was born the wells were dry.
The hens- they would not lay.
The cows- they would not give no milk.
So they said I could not stay.

I rambled North through woods and fields
Till three witches I did find.
They said all my troubles and my woes be forgot
And proceeded to cleanse my mind.

The first one said the magic words.
The second one cast the spell.
The third one started a bubbling pot
And she began to yell:
We need a deer’s brain and a bullfrog’s eye
And all that usual stuff.
Then Fire came down from the mountainside
And said this is not enough.

We need the egg from a honey bee
And honey from the hive.
Three dogs, four kittens, two turtle doves
And a goat that is still alive.

They propolized my eyes and waxed up my toes.
Brought an apple core and dandelion seed.
My spine buckled, my legs collapsed, I took a nap
I ate some sap. My heart, it did bleed.

Seemed like 24 days in the wilderness
I opened my eyes to see
Never had a spent such fine a time
In such good company.

Now my mind was good and clean
And all the spell was through
So they bade me go and tell the tale
And sent me off without any stew.

When people ask me how I got started with bees, I answer with the truth. “I won six bee hives in a poker game.” It covers up for the real truth: that just like the Jersey Devil before me, I was forgotten in the hollow of a Johnny Appleseed tree, whence came a corny unicorn who said to me, "You're meant to bee, boy. Meant to bee." Whence came the bees, who cared for me four score and propolized me much.

At least the part about the Jersey Devil is true. My next favorite thing to do is respond to the new most popular question. Formerly, once the foray found itself fussing with someone routinely interrogated by insects, the exclusive question was, “Do you ever get stung?” Since the bee story got hot, the only question is, “What’s wrong with the bees?”

So of course I feign utter ignorance.

“We heard that the bees aren’t doing so well.”
“Really? I had no idea. They seem fine.”
“No way! There is a global crisis!”
“Huh? It’s news to me.”
“No NO NO! We saw a special on 60 minutes and PBS. It was in the New York Times! There’s something wrong!”

We are feeling some sort of BUZZ...

The light that people find in BEES shines as a beacon over a sea of scary crazy crawling millipedes and vicious bald-faced hornets. Suddenly there is a bug that is good to have around? All these other creatures have a place and purpose too? Wowee. I didn’t know that.

I do now. But it came slowly as I learned from the hives. Years ago, I used to think I was saving the bees when we started breeding with Russian stock without mite treatments in Vermont.

Now I find that idea of “saving” presumptuous. To let things bee wild, I had to start all over. And get out of the way.

I wasn’t told that what is most important in this world is LAND or that we all have a birthright to tend and care for it. I wasn’t taught to question why what goes on here on a given plot is designated by a government, company, or mandate, a thousand miles away, paid off to say so by someone else on the other side of the planet. The bees were telling me all along. I had much healing to do to combine my listening with my living in the now. I was distant. Like New Jersey. All gold was fool’s gold. I walked out of a Nintendo world towards a subsistence lifestyle, and the bees and I are still far from getting there. Not to chase a chauvinistic “Individualism” but to work with immediate community. OR I could have ignored the mask put on our country's anthropocentric animosity, kept going to almond pollination. Instead, I live somewhere where we practice skills, grow food and cook food for each other and give it all away. Everyone receives food, medicine, and help without any sort of payment other than their own sharing.
People who find this silly probably have never had any fun. The Age of Alienation is upon us.

These are times of prophecy, and we are the frontlines. The night of the vampires doesn’t really exist, though it’s fun to think so. It amounts to us all being safe. The vampires are our complacency. Vampires are really robots. They live among us. The zombies tried to be robots. It didn’t fly.
I wanted to be a part of agriculture and the simplest, most important cycles of life. I thought of the most important thing that humans do. Growing food. (Communicate with spirits is part of growing food.) Eating food, too. Can’t forget about that. Keepin it simple, though, and finding happiness when I entered the insect world. A lot of my friends moved to Brooklyn. I moved in on the Vermont homestead, the Montana mountains, the swamps of South Carolina, the gator pits of Florida, to spend a few years among the bees and the keepers. NY is where my people are and it’s where I’ll go down. Close to the think tank, here is the foundation of a generation. I’d rather live at no other time than now.

Let’s help each other change the sheets on the deathbed of industrial agriculture. Promise yourself to slow down when you eat and savor your food. Support a network of bioregional wisdom, and keep it simple enough to teach a child. What we teach our children is the next world to be. A place where the wild things grow.