read: 14 November 2004
Very strangely, I finished this book a day before I received a gift of some home-made honey from a friend of mine who was raising bees in his backyard in Seattle. This book is a seasonally-outlined narration of the life of a beekeeper. Hubbell owns 300 hives in the Ozarks and lives in relative solitude tending to them. She describes the work she does with the bees, the interactions she has with the local folks, and the things she has learned as a solitary lady beekeeper. It’s a very meditative short book that is rich with natural imagery and observations about flora and fauna. Hubbell truly cares for her bees as their steward and so her approach to them is not just as her cash cow, but as pars of the natural world that she symbiotically relates to. Lots of practical bee advice fills this book in addition to more personal reflections. In an odd twist at the end, the author reveals that her bee work is just a part of the life she has been living and that she has a new partner and is paring down her bee business -- that she so feverently extolls the virtues of -- to spend more time with her man. I don’t expect every woman naturist to be a hermit, but having the last line in your book about bees be “I like loving a man and I like being loved by him” just makes it seem in a way to minimize all the positive things she said about her previous monastic-style existence.
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