Sunday, February 15, 2009
Swarming across the sea
Saint Modomnoc (his feast was 2 days ago but we were at the Calder circus, all bent wire, movement and whimsy) was an Irish priest studying and preaching in Wales. One of his tasks there was to tend the bees, and of course he grew fond of his bees. (And they of him.) The story goes that when he informed the bees he planned to cross the Irish Sea and convert those pesky Irish, they swarmed and followed him across the water. In this way Ireland got her first honeybees.
I have stood in the midst of swarming bees, and I have watched as the bees exited their hive and collected themselves on a nearby branch in order to reconnoiter, secure the queen and send out scouts to find a new home, and it was been wonderful. I don’t say that lightly. Generally in nature we find bees singly, gathering nectar and going about their business. En masse, they generate electricity in the air and you can quite literally stand there while thousands fly purposefully around you, and never touch you, because they are focused on only one thing: finding a new home.
Modomnoc must have had a great crossing of the Irish Sea. I can’t imagine a better one.