The days are shortening, as too are the visits from the honey bees. As I peg out the washing, noting the morning sun has lost some of its sting, I spy them. Here and there they dance amongst the basil flowers; I’ve left the plants to seed on purpose to provide one last nectar feast for the bees before they retire to their hives for the Winter. Nectar guzzling and pollen sweeping will be replaced by queen protecting and hive warming – a constant roundabout of wing flutters and body shivers.
Along with that golden elixir, honey, bees produce beeswax. Using their own body fat they secrete a colourless wax that is used in the construction of honeycomb; an engineering wonder of strength, stability yet delicateness created for infant rearing and a larder of sorts for pollen and honey. The mind boggles at the magnitude of their skill.
In homage to all this industry and the vital roll bees play in pollinating, we will roll beeswax candles. We will use thin pieces of beeswax scented with leatherwood, apple blossom and lingering days, strips of wicking and flat hands with a gentle but tight touch. And we will light them at mealtimes and give thanks to the honey bees.