It may not rank up there with gravity or Joyce’s The Dead, but reading Bee Culture yesterday I had something of an epiphany, one that made me especially happy since it combined two of my obsessions: hagiography and apiculture, saints and bees. I have always, at least in recent times, known that honey was healthy as well as remarkable in that it never spoils (perfectly edible honey has been found in Egyptian tombs dating 5000 years ago) and is an excellent antibiotic ointment and treatment for burns. But I wasn’t aware that honey, as a food, contained ALL the essential nutrients necessary to sustain life, including Vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, beta–carotene, and enzymes.
In other words, if you are a hermit in the desert for forty years and have nothing to eat but honey and the occasional bug, you can survive.
Since the annals of hagiography are full of hermits who did just that (think John the Baptist) it suddenly hit me that no exaggeration or fudging was involved, that in fact they could very well have survived exactly as their histories say they survived.
And this delights me.