Tuesday, June 29, 2004

On Bees

Bees have taken residence in the wall above my porch door. They sting everybody who uses the door except for me. I've told them not to sting other creatures who live in the house, but it seems they are not paying attention. So now I have to deliver them an ultimatum: they have twenty-four hours to mend their ways. After that, apocalypse.

This is not that different from other human politics, sadly. Many of our quarrels and wars have their roots in problems of communication. How do you talk to the bees? To the Republican wingnuts? To terrorists? Or if you are a bee, how do you defend your right to live in the siding of someone's house? Sometimes it seems as if we are all separate species with no idea of how to share something: a thought, some pollen, food.

Some of us have a lot more power than others. I have the upper hand with the bees, and I have also planted the flowers that lured them here in the first place. This makes me twice responsible, at least in my bleeding-heart world: I promised them something better and now I threaten them with death.

At least none of this was based on conscious planning. Can the Bush administration say the same about Iraq? Or are we more similar than I'd like to think, just two bumbling fools in a world where every hole in the siding is someone's home?

I'm going out now to have a serious conversation with the bees, but I doubt that it will do much good.