Bees as Essential Workers

Dear bee friends, SB103 on restricting the class of insecticides called neonicotinoids died on the New Mexico Senate floor last week. We are extremely grateful for all of you who made calls, wrote letters and otherwise hounded your senators to make it this far. There were senator absences at the final vote and the odd bedfellows who voted for this in committee, yet ended up killing the bill on the floor.

Everyone working on this legislation learned alot and will continue to find ways to restrict neonics and all toxic chemicals in New Mexico agriculture and our backyards. We are deeply grateful to our champion, Senator Mimi Stewart, for her broad vision of a sustainable future and the struggle to keep our air, water and soil healthy—and thus our pollinators and food systems.

In working on this bill during a COVID time, I have become much more aware of the word “frontline” or essential workers. Wild and managed bees, as the workhorses of the pollinator world, are exactly that. It was a lightbulb going off in my head when I put two and two together, realizing finally, that if frontline, bee-essential workers aren’t protected, the food web of life will fail. We will all be malnourished, sick or worse…

Our food system will be dismembered bit by bit if we are not vigilant about protecting bees.

As Didi Pershouse writes in “Other Species are Essential Workers: Whose Economies Enfold our Own”

The terms “essential worker” and “frontline worker” have taken on tremendous new meaning since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. This article proposes that other species are essential workers whose labor is absolutely necessary for the future of critical infrastructure — both human and planetary. Their work underpins all food systems, regional and global water security, transportation, housing, health, and the climate and metabolism of our planet.

Many species are also frontline workers: facing huge risks while going about their daily labors. They are harmed and killed, intentionally and unintentionally, with antibiotics, pesticides, tillage, harvesting machinery, logging, construction, and more, without thought for how their work — and the systems that depend on their work — will proceed without them.

All species are continual designers, capable of new strategies — often in rapid response to a challenge. Like the humans who design, build, and repair our roads, bridges, and electrical grids, the work of other species involves coordinated efforts and constant intelligent decision making. They are also investors in local and global economies — and they will require a return on investment (ROI) in order to stay in the game, payable in a currency that they can use.

The work and economies of other species “enfolds” our own — it is not separate, nor is it merely a part of it. To enfold means “to surround or envelop” or “to hold someone lovingly” and it implies nestedness.

The word economics originally carried much of the same sense of care and nestedness: oikos (home) and nomi (care) = “the care of home.” Aristotle defined it as “the pragmatic science of living virtuously as a member of the polis (or community) through wise household management.”

Didi Pershouse is the author of The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, Money, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities and Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function.

I love this idea of all species being part of what we think of as a solely human economy. Pershouse’s dissection of a true economy as that of oikos (Greek for household/home) combined with nomi or care, blends the spiritual and the practical in a beautiful way—an economy as caring for our home.

Pershouse goes on to entail how non-human species are engineers, architects, medicine and transport systems, providing natural sewer systems, and biological webs that vacuum, respirate, metabolize, pollinate, cool, heat, recycle, birth and evolve a planet that gives us food every single day.

In other words, every species on earth gives human life the local and sustainable food economy we depend upon. It gives us a planet that allows us to live, breathe and continue our daily lives.

How would our economic system be forced to change if we truly believed this and acted in ways that cared and protected all non-human species as critical infrastructure for our economy to work?

Gratitude is the only proper response.

And gratitude requires reciprocity and caring for that which is so graciously given to us.

Saying thank you is more than good manners. It is good spirituality.”
– Alfred Painter

Waste not, want not

Tomorrow SB103 on restricting the class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, is headed to the Tax, Business and Transportation Committee – Please call or contact these senators. Neonicotinoids have been widely indicted for acute bee kills and cumulative toxins that build up over time in the hive and bring a hive to its demise.

Early this morning our smallest, snuggly cat, a very stealth killing machine, escaped the house without her Birdbessafe collar. The cats look ridiculously cute in them. Kind of like little court jesters or cats of a royal household. But they hate them. It interferes with their work.

Not surprisingly, within a half hour she came back with a black headed junco. My blood boiled. I had no one to be angry at but myself. Birdsbesafe collars have evidently been shown to reduce cat/bird interactions and fatalities up to 80%. Who am I kidding? It’s the cat’s instinct. So I strap on their collars and set them free for at least 1/2 – 3 hours each day. Like humans, all creatures need fresh air, a place and time to be cat-like, sniffing, leaping and unencumbered by humans.

My cat has shown she is meticulous in cleaning the bones and eating every part of her prey except the feathers. She does her work with precision and she knows what she needs. A cat with poor kidney function sometimes needs wild caught food. She does not waste her prey when she has a chance—–which is usually only once in a blue moon. She does not catch and release. She uses that wild wisdom to strengthen her body.

What does this have to do with bees, you might ask?

Bees also do not waste anything. They are essential workers. Front line workers that pollinate the food and flowers we love so much. You will see them out and about, gathering and collecting pollen, nectar and sap for propolizing. They use everything from our backyard gardens and green spaces, turning it into gold. Like little alchemists, they use our environment for making food, medicine and guerrilla style glue with their propolis from sap.

That is why it is so important to safeguard them as they come out of their long (or short) winter dormancy, usually weakened and vulnerable. Here’s what I recently posted on my Next Door Neighborhood website:

Pre-Emergement herbicides. You’ll notice this time of year a sickly yellow-green cover on many rock surfaces, sidewalks or just sprayed on plain dirt. As someone who is working on pesticide issues at the legislature and with the New Mexico Beekeepers Association, I encourage you to read up on alternatives. Domestic and wild animals, birds and human shoes will track this around the neighborhood, into your home, workplace, etc. Cats will lick their paws and ingest it. Here’s an article for alternatives: A simple list is to check off first if you wish to suppress weeds is: mechanical( e.g. pull the weeds, burn them, suppress with plastic, boiling water), biological (goats/geese!), least toxic application(gardeners vinegar, corn gluten meal). Glyphosates, which are in post emergent herbicides like RoundUp, degrade the soil, destroy microbes, get into the ecological chain and become low grade and perennially toxic cumulatively—for human and all living creatures.

Bees as essential workers might be a new concept. It shouldn’t be. They’ve been front line, trench workers since time immemorial. They are the donkeys of the food system, i.e. the workhorses, downtrodden, mistreated, misunderstood. During COVID 19, we’ve very clearly seen the disparity between how we care for and pay front line workers vs. Wall Street moguls and CEO’s. Should we be surprised? Money speaks.

However, the only truly valuable things usually have nothing to do with money—though I’m not against money when it’s justly doled out so all can live well. My belief is that if we put our money towards preserving clean air, water, food, good health and a respected planet, then we would understand this is where our real wealth and economy lies. We don’t protect or even remotely safeguard the raw ingredients of the environment in our ag sector that bees use to turn straw into gold (think, the child’s fairy tale, Rumpelstiltskin). We do have control of choices in our backyards and households. Yet, we’ve all been sold a lie by the chemical companies. That the only way to “control” our environment is to stamp out and kill everything that doesn’t “serve us”. We are awash with chemicals. Meanwhile, multi-nationals chemical corporations are making a killing from our pocketbooks, while we slowly poison ourselves.

We have become a society that “cuts off our nose to spite our face”. The bug apocalypse is one vision of this wrong headed thinking. Humanity seems to lack the precautionary principle to do no harm, particularly in the agricultural sector. We are facing the collapse of our ecosystems because we have poisoned the “least among us”, thinking they don’t matter in the grand scheme of things. Turns out bugs are the basic building blocks of our ecosystem, food for many mammals. Mother Earth has her own checks and balances of beneficial insects, birds and bats that prey on the non-beneficials. Might be good to provide habitat for these guys to re-balance our ecosystem without harming the whole web of life. Perhaps what we need is more re-wilding (thanks to my friend Todd for this word) of our habits, tendencies, thoughts.

Tomorrow SB103 on restricting neonicotinoids, is headed to the Tax, Business and Transportation Committee – Please call or contact these senators. Neonicotinoids have been widely indicted for acute bee kills and cumulative toxins that build up over time in the hive and bring a hive to its demise.

Contact your representatives. It’s the least we can do for the least of these. What harms the bees, harms all of us.

#beehealth #noneonics #beessentialworkers


So, this is why we do what we can…calling legislative committees, hounding politicians, planting trees, tending flowers, supporting pollinators, growing food and roses, teaching children about their earth mama.

Listen to the amazing poem by Amanda Gorman below, then call your New Mexico Senate Rules committee members and ask for them to immediately set up a hearing for the New Mexico Green Amendment SJR3. This will give nature rights and move us towards a future of ensuring pure water, clean air, stable climate and healthy soil for all living beings.

Here’s the info:  joint organizational action alert document

Or go to the NM Green Amendment website

Thank you!

Banning the Killer (Part II)

Hi Friends, I wanted to update those of you who are willing to support a few bills that will protect pollinators, along with their habitat—our soil, air and water. A good rule of thumb…what’s good for the bees is good for the humans!

SB 103 Restricting Use of Neonicotinoid Pesticides with Senator Mimi Stewart

This is coming to the Senate Conservation Committee, Tuesday, February 2, 2021. Time TBA.

We are particularly concerned about the votes of Sen. Schmedes, Sen. Soules and Sen. Cervantes on the Senate Conservation Committee.  

Here’s some info:

Call and ask them to vote YES, whether or not you are a constituent.

Talking Points:

 ***Relating to the environment; restricting the use of neonicotinoid class pesticides; providing exceptions; requiring an education and training program; amending and enacting sections of the pesticide control act.”

****Neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees, and even low levels can have subtle yet severe impacts such as making them more susceptible to disease, delaying development, impairing their ability to collect food and limiting reproduction.  Bee kills in the European Union have led them to ban this class of pesticides.

****Neonicotinoids put bees in direct risk of exposure as they contaminate the pollen and nectar of bee attractive plants.  

Make sure the Senators know how deeply you care about this issue for pollinators, a healthy and non-toxic food system and our own health!!!!

ALSO NOTE TODAY, JANUARY 28, 2021 on the SENATE CONSERVATION COMMITTEE. CALL MEMBERS TO SUPPORT! Ensuring a healthy environment, ensures healthy pollinators!

SJR3 Environmental Rights, CA (Green Amendment)–Sens. Sedillo Lopez, Soules, Stewart and Ferrary

This Resolution will ask voters to create a NM State constitutional amendment giving all New Mexicans a constitutional right to clean air, water, and land. These rights would become inherent, inalienable, and indefeasible, and among those rights reserved to all the people and on par with other protected inalienable rights. Currently the legislative body is to protect these elements.

If you care about the devastating contamination of our fresh water in a drought ridden state, due to fracking, please note this bill as well. This affects all creatures habitat and certainly native or honeybees, foraging anywhere near the fracking fields. 

SB86 Protect Our Water (Produced fracking wastewater): Senators Sedillo Lopez, Stefanics

This bill would protect water in oil and gas industry. Would require more use of fracked water, prohibit  millions of gallons of freshwater for fracking.

*For every barrel of oil produced, the oil and gas industry consumes an average of 3 barrels of freshwater, and produces 4-7 times as much toxic fracking waste known as “produced water.” 
*Currently, produced water is poisoning our land, water, and air with little regulation or oversight.  Despite being hazardous, toxic, and radioactive, produced water is not managed as the hazardous waste it is, and the 2019 Produced Water Act fails to provide New Mexicans necessary protections from this wastestream. 

*Negligent spills occur daily and continue to increase.  Thousands of massive ponds and corroded steel tanks store the toxic fracking waste.  Corrosion, human error, overflow, and equipment failure are the most common reasons for spills.  The Produced Water Act must be amended to fulfill the legislature’s intent of protecting public health, the environment, and freshwater. 

Amend the Produced Water Act to Protect New Mexicans 

Proposed amendments to the 2019 Produced Water Act ensure the safe handling and disposal of this toxic waste, to protect public health, and to preserve scarce freshwater by:

****Require the Oil Conservation Division to regulate the safe management and disposal of oil and gas waste.

****Require oil and gas operators to use produced water instead of freshwater for fracking. 

****Provide penalties for spills, using fines to develop shared public information and data.

****Require the New Mexico Environment Department to regulate pollution from produced water

FINALLY, Recently Think Like A Bee was featured in a podcast with Sophia Rose, a Meals VISTA volunteer through AmeriCorps. She works with the New Mexico Out-of-School Time Network and does amazing podcasts about food, hunger, pollinators and our earth habitat.
It includes themes of:

**Bees as essential workers 

**Honeybee’s sophisticated social system and what they can teach us as humans

**Bees throughout history in our cosmologies and theologies

**Bees as critical in our food system and how we re-think our farms and rural place.

In other words, how to think like a bee!

Here’s the Link and Deep Gratitude for your support of pollinators!

Banning the killer

Think like a bee is involved with a legislative bill in the New Mexico senate this month which would regulate neonicotinoids. In case you don’t know, the European Union, due to beekeeper pressure, has already banned neonics, given their surging bee kills from this class of chemicals.

Here’s the facts:

Bees and other pollinators are vitally important and at risk

• Bees and other pollinators contribute $18-27 billion to the U.S. food economy every year and are responsible for an estimated one out of every three bites of food.• New Mexico is home to more than 1000 species of native bees• Bees and other pollinators are critical for crops including alfalfa, potatoes, tomatoes and tomatillos. They are also necessary for the survival of many native plants.• Six of New Mexico’s 19 species of bumble bees are threatened with extinction. • Honeybees are also suffering high losses. During the winter of 2019/2020, New Mexico beekeepers reported 47% colony loss

Neonicotinoids threaten bees and other pollinators also.

• Neonicotinoids are highly toxic to bees, and even low levels can have subtle yet severe impacts such as making them more susceptible to disease, delaying development, impairing their ability to collect food and limiting reproduction.

• Neonicotinoids put bees in direct risk of exposure as they contaminate the pollen and nectar of beehives

Neonicotinoids persist in the environment for months. Harmful levels of neonicotinoids can remain in bee attractive flowers the year after an application.

• Neonicotinoids are the most widely used class of insecticides worldwide. They are registered for use throughout our communities in home gardens, lawns and even in flowerbeds designed to attract pollinators. They are also registered for use on a number of bee-attractive crops.

This New Mexico Senate Bill would:

Ban sale and use of neonicotinoids for residential use

Create labeling requirements for flowering plants or products that have been treated with neonicotinoids

Require licensure for application of neonicotinoids in commercial agriculture

Require continuing education for licensed applicators every two years

Require development of educational and outreach materials about impacts to bees and other pollinators, best practices to avoid adverse impacts and

New Mexico Senate Bill would not:

Apply to neonicotinoid products intended for indoor use

Apply to neonicotinoidproducts intended for treating lice or bedbugs

Apply to neonicotinoid products intended for parasite control in pets

Apply to wood products treated with neonicotinoids

•The science is clear. Neonicotinoid use is harming bees and other beneficial insects. Federal pesticide regulation on neonicotinoids has lagged for more than a decade and fails to address New Mexico’s unique water and wildlife concerns. A state specific solution to reduce the risk of neonicotinoids can respond to the needs of our agricultural community while still taking steps to ensure needed protections.

Contact me for more information to contact your legislator next week and request that this be passed!

Bee Grateful Year-end Fundraiser

2020 has been a long, weird year. Due to COVID, Think Like a Bee needed to rethink all of its usual buzzy, busy hive activity in the community. We went to “Sheltering in Place” mode and worked virtually —from Board meetings to events.

A highlight was a morning with Marnie Rehn at the Bachechi Open Space and a summer collaboration with the City of Albuquerque Open Space to create a virtual Burque Bee City USA experience during June’s pollinator week, which you can view here!

As the year comes to an end, meet our dynamic Board of Directors!  

Ann McCartney/Interim President, lawyer, community advocate of legislative policies for sustainable energy,  pollinator health and conservation. Lives in Las Lunas.

Suzanne Graham Shave/President elect, native of Albuquerque, retired pharmacist and property owner, an avid gardener, and guardian of the High Desert open spaces, plants and animals.

Connie George/Treasurer, retired Manager of health, life and financial programs, a lover of flowers, critters, composter and world traveler. Lives in Albuquerque.

Marnie Rehn/Education, Long time educator, coordinates environmental education where she lives at the Bachechi Open Space, Albuquerque and also teaches mindfulness meditation with the natural world.

Living Into Mindfulness with Marnie Rehn

Mary Jo Picha/Community Outreach is a Social worker, mom, master gardener, composter and lives in the North Valley, Albuquerque.

Mary Jo Picha

Amy Owens/Secretary, is owner of Desert Hives, a pollinator educator, mom and social worker who lives in the East Mountains.

Anita Amstutz/founder of Think Like a Bee and Burque Bee City, lives in Albuquerque and is a pollinator educator and policy advocate. 

We said goodbye to Clara Sims, off to Yale Divinity School,  an amazing eco-theologian, farmer and activist with Global Warming Express, Roots Farm and NM-Interfaith Power and Light. 

Our wonderful President Hanaa Benhalim stepped down. She guided us through our first Community fundraiser at The Flying Star where we raised over $1000—thanks to you, the community!

Thank you Hanaa for your vision, incredible energy and endless optimism!

We hope this season finds you grateful and making merry despite the hardness of this year. We remember the incredible gifts of all bees. They offer us free pollination services, medicine from the hive, honey, diversity, beauty and wonder even in the midst of their struggles to survive.

As we head into 2021, we celebrate the abundance of the earth and the critical role of pollinators— and in particular bees. They are necessary for a vital, healthy and diverse food system. They are endangered these days.  

Here’s our 2021 Goals: 

  • January-March collaboration with Senator Mimi Stewart and environmental organizations to bring a neonicotinoid bill for pollinator protection in the State of New Mexico’s 2021 Legislative session.
  • April- October implementing fun pollinator education events with families and children at our Albuquerque Open Spaces
  • June’s annual summer Burque Bee City Festival!

We hope you will join us in protecting pollinators! One hundred percent of all donations goes for advocacy and education programs. We accept any gifting of shares from retirement funds. For information, contact our treasurer: 

Click here to go to the top of this site and find the yellow DONATE Button. Checks can be mailed to : TLB, 410 Morningside Dr. SE Albuquerque, NM 87108. Donations over $25 will receive a packet of free wildflower seeds!

Thank you and Blessed Holidays!

The Bee Hive (Yes, the hive is all girls!)
Ann, Suzanne, Connie, Marnie, Mary Jo, Amy, Anita and Clara 

Think Like a Bee is a 501c3 non-profit and all donations are tax deductible.  


Bricks of beeswax have been hiding in my cabinets awaiting this day. Today am making candles for the holidays.

These are for sale by the pound, with the caveat that they have their own unique imperfections or textures. 10% of proceeds will be donated to the non-profit, Think Like a Bee. Email me at if you wish to purchase these beautiful, unique gifts for your loved ones or yourself.

Beeswax is produced by honeybees. The nectar from 17 million flowers enables bees to produce 8 1/2 lb. of honey. According to the Beeswax Candle Works website, this is the amount of honey needed to produce only 1 lb. of beeswax.

The glands of worker bees convert the sugar contents of honey into wax, which oozes through the bee’s small pores to produce tiny flakes of wax on their abdomens. Workers chew these pieces of wax until they become soft and moldable, and then add the chewed wax to the honeycomb construction.

Unfortunately, the prior information I found on the Orkin pesticide website. Sadly, they know their targeted subject. I continue to be amazed that we kill non-human beings with intrinsic wisdom which have so much to teach and give us.

Here’s a short list of why humans like beeswax.

Beeswax is rich in vitamin A which aids in cell rejuvenation, reducing wrinkles and age spots. Beeswax has amazing antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and healing properties. It helps the skin retain moisture. Upon further investigation, I found that beeswax is used for high cholesterol, pain, fungal skin infections, and other conditions. It doesn’t clog the pores and has been highly prized for lotions, potions, beauty creams, lip balms, body butters, deodorants and salves. Who knew?

Because of its incredible qualities of adherence and sealing, beeswax is used for candle and soap making, lubricants, furniture and shoe polish, granite countertop polish, cheese waxes, beard and mustache waxes, crayons, envelope seals and more….tell me if I missed something!

For candles, it is a non-toxic alternative to those fossil fuel based candles on the market, usually laden with synthetic perfumes and dyes. Beeswax candles have a fresh, sweet, natural honey smell that permeates the room. Because beeswax has a higher melting point than other waxes, it emits the brightest, most warm-toned flame. Beeswax candles also last longer than most other candles. Because it is so dense (0.958), it burns slower and drips less. A 3X6 pillar candle is known to burn over 100 hours.

It is the greenest possible candle you can have. My candle wax comes from organic farms, though pesticides are so prevalent in our environment these days, it’s hard to know what the bees have been exposed to.

As I’ve often said, everything from the hive is a generous gift from the girls.

Email if you would like your very own holiday candles!


Friends, this is a bee blog and more than a bee blog.

Because humanity is at an intersection, I feel I must speak heart to heart. Please bear with me. More than the words, I hope you will make sure and listen to each video posted here.

One of my heart teachers is wise elder Joanna Macy. She speaks to these times. She speaks from a Buddhist perspective, but it is no different for any religious tradition— including the teachings of Jesus which I embrace. She says now COVID is a our teacher. It is bringing us deep pain and suffering as a human species. It is unveiling, revealing what delusions or illusions we have lived under for too long. Our lifestyle is killing us and the planet. It is also calling us to our deepest humanity.

Macy teaches about the web that reconnects even in the wretchedness. She calls us to deepest humanity. How we care for one another. We are all interconnected, earth and humans. Our future fate is woven together.

Recently I was on a call with the Pachamama Alliance. It is a worldwide movement to return to the Indigenous spirituality and worldview that has sustained a people who have lived through extermination. It is the only sane way forward. To remember that all our relatives are not just human. Our tribe is non-human as well.

We were split into breakout groups. From Ohio to New Mexico to Minnesota to Washington state, though we all had different politics and religious beliefs, what united us was the fact that we saw this Indigenous worldview as the way forward.

It is a powerful time to be alive. If we can tap into a vision that is both ancient and universal perhaps there is a breath of a chance for humanity—a vision that calls us beyond our own small fear of our demise to COVID.

No matter what culture, religion or color you are, we have all been colonized by the Western mindset.

I participated this summer 2020 in a 4 week Dismantling the Doctrine of DIscovery webinar, part of a coalition collaboration that I’ve been involved with for 10 years. We partnered with the people of the Iroquois nation/Haudenosaunee confederacy for content. 

The “Doctrine of Discovery,” better described as the “Doctrine of Christian Discovery and World Domination,” established the worldview that not only brought devastation to the natural world, but also impaired the ability for human beings to live in proper relationship with the Earth. 15th century Papal Bulls, issued by the Vatican, justified the assault upon Indigenous Peoples as an artificial justification to take possession of their bodies, lands and resources in order to finance their New World Order. This worldview advanced the Age of Discovery as an extension of the Crusades, and was the conceptual framework behind the Protestant Reformation, the establishment of Nation States around the world, and later secularized to define colonialism, white supremacy and global capitalism.

Essentially, what defines Indigenous Peoples is their relationship with a living landscape that includes the soil, water, air, and all other non-human being co-inhabitants.  This orientation to land is distinctly opposed to the European concept of owning land and the process of colonization.  Indigenous scholars have discussed these two opposing orientations as being one of habitation and the other, of occupation. Although the violent seizure of Indigenous lands was initiated with “discovery,” corporations today, continue exploiting Indigenous Peoples and their land all over the world. The Doctrine of Discovery is the root of the problem, and the reason that it is discussed at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

This current pandemic and the escalating climate chaos clarify to everyone that there are consequences to the devastation humans have perpetrated upon the environment.  As Oren Lyons has pointed out, Natural Law will reestablish balance, and these climate changes will not destroy the Earth, but will most likely destroy the human beings who abuse her. The earth will rebound in its own time. If we are to survive as a species, we must reorient to an Indigenous worldview acknowledging that we are first and foremost, co-inhabitants with this Earth—not in charge of it. These Indigenous values, along with the acceptance of traditional ecological knowledge, will transform future technological innovations possibly resulting in a viable future for our species.  Religious concepts of imperial thinking urgently need to be re-imagined; messages from Indigenous Peoples need to be heeded; and environmental justice needs to be restored.  Racist ideologies of conquest and domination are directly connected with domination of the Earth and other non-human beings.

This conference will connect the dots between our current pandemic, environmental devastation, the Doctrine of Discovery, and a way forward….

This Place I live

Come to find out, bees are inherently and relentlessly local.

Native bees might wander 1-3 feet from their nest.

Honeybees can fly up to a five mile radius, but usually stay within

a mile.

And so I noticed. Where I live everyday.

The New Mexico I love and traverse,

from the mountains to the rivers and

my small neighborhood.

This place I live

With arroyos and rivers that run green and brown

Thunderstorms and winds that whip up on a dime,

the sweet smell of piñon and sage

released after the rains.

This place I live

with sunsets

flaming orange and magenta

furling out across the western sky

Mornings of azul skies, brightened by the

arid sun.

This place I live

with coyotes and road runners

in the street.

over 1500 native bees

like shiny Cinderellas with their finery

dancing on the high desert flowers

Photo by Pixabay on

This place I live

with 19 sovereign indigenous pueblos

and the vast nation of the Diné

Their sacred ceremonies honoring our watersheds and land

Holding the web of life together

teaching us to live lightly.

This place I live

of downwinders, breathing the sickness

of the radioactive dust of

plutonium, uranium, selenium.

and decades of radionuclides

in the channels of our waters

colonized by the U. S. Department of Energy.

You can help stop nuclear dumping

This place I live

a gracious, enchanted land

with cherished waters

sucked by fracking, spewing out over 1200 toxic chemicals

A methane cloud the size of Rhode Island

hanging in the air.

(MGN Image)

This place I live.

So much heartbreak.

So much beauty.

Tell me about yours.

As a bee seeks nectar / from all kinds of flowers, / seek teachings everywhere.” (Dzogchen tantra)

We are still here. Seasons, seeds and song

Photo by Silviu Cozma on

One of my deepest griefs during this pandemic has been the inability to sing with others in a room—working out difficult patterns, rhythms, textures, dynamics and notes with other voices. My choir master, Matt Greer, and the Board of Quintessence quickly made the difficult decision to abort our March concert 2020 and suspend our choral singing for now—based upon ACDA recognition of the science of singing as a super spreader event. Singing alone is nothing like the life-giving sustenance of singing in community.

I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say there is also a silver lining. Time. Much more time for writing, day dreaming, resting. As the rug has been yanked out from under all of us in our day jobs and part or full time passions, we have found new ways of being resilient and adaptive. This is one of the good qualities of human nature. Hobbies are always there for the picking.

One thing I am taking up is gardening. Alongside my beehives, it seems to just make sense. Growing my own food seems to be my own little resistance to the damaging, destructive Big Ag practices of spraying poison on everything that moves in our food system. This is not only causing a bug apocalypse, but it harms our essential migrant workers. Then off it goes to market and into our mouths. We must boycott this senselessly grown food in our stores.

I want to know where my food is grown and how. Thank you to Ian, my trusty Solar Punk farmster, I will still get some veggies from local organic growers and the CSA (community supported agriculture) that honors our farmers, pollinators and healthy soil, air and water.

Because of my new garden project in collaboration with Kenneth and friend Catherine Joy, I have been dancing on air! I’ve already begun my marigold seeds. I visited Bern-Co Broadway branch library recently to get my stash of FREE, yes, FREE organic/non-GMO, heirloom seeds! What a fabulous program this is! Kohlrabi, radish, broccoli, onion, cabbage, lettuce, snap peas, red Russian kale, basil, spinach, arugula, morning glory, calendula…

These days I have been thinking alot about modern life and our economy’s vacuous stranglehold on everything. Some people are willing accomplices, allowing insanity to run amok, electing people who relish this destruction for the god of money, their profit and jobs, jobs, jobs. No one ever tells us that this scarcity driven and destructive narrative is totally wrong. Occupy Wall Street author, economist and activist for “We are the 99%”, the late David Graeber knew we had become enslaved to the plantation— killing the living world and us. As Graeber penned, “The ultimate, hidden truth of the world is that it is something that we make, and could just as easily make differently.”

How do we become a more compassionate, altruistic humane people? If we are to surmount our rapidly increasing violence against the earth and exploding cultural/racial divides, to get off this death train, which our double speaking politicians in power say is the way forward, we must stop honoring all the things of this idolatrous system and dream for our children’s future.

Beginning with the belief that we are one with each other and this magical, wondrous world we inhabit. Our fortunes are inextricably woven.
Recently I joined an international zoom event with Nigerian teacher, philosopher, writer Bayo Akomolafe. He was speaking with the Green Sabbath Project, founded by Professor Jonathan Schorsch, who poses the question, ‘Is there nothing you can do about the environment? Nothing may be one of the best things you can do!’

Bayo piqued our imaginations with his poetic use of words and images:

Because modernity centralizes rationality/human experience, and instrumentalizes the nonhuman world as resource for human ends (that is, refusing to see the nonhuman world as powerful on its own terms), power and enchantment are always in short supply relative to deepening demand. One has to make a great effort to leave the homogenizing lull of suburbia for some distant, exotic location in order to feel alive, for instance. As the deadening rationality of modern civilization spreads, and as its circumference expands, the intimate magic of a relational world becomes even more contraband and expensive, reduced to a ‘high’ on a street corner….Isn’t the material world (the one we in our hubris seek to save) infused with agency, power, longing and electrifying possibility – which the Yoruba people of West Africa that are observant of the Ifá nature religion call ‘asé’, a matrixial web of change that enlists human and nonhuman bodies in the co-production of reality? Cannot the world speak for itself?

Bayo Akomolafe, Coming Down to Earth: Sanctuary as Spiritual Companionship in a Time of Hopelessness and Climate Chaos

What if, we just stopped our mindless, endless, distracted human nonsense and went out into nature and listened? What if we sat with an ant? A plant? a stone? A river? What if we began to hear that the world IS speaking for herself. The earth has agency and will prevail, with or without humans. Joining her would be a much more joyful and pleasant ride. Intimacy with bees and tomatoes, coyotes and squash worms, cedar trees and vast skies, soil teeming with bacteria…this world awaits our reflection and relationship. Intimacy after all, is a close familiarity, affection, friendship, closeness. We need one another, earth beings all. Living, respirating beings all. As Eric Whitacre’s stunning 17,500 voice virtual choir (see below)reminds us, We Are One. It is time to join our voices across time, space, continents, cultures, race.

This Friday, I will be speaking at the Green Sabbath Gathering. I want to hold up this vision of the urgency to connect to the web of all life now. More than ever. Sabbath Wisdom from the Soul of the World. Join us!

Friday, Sept. 11, 2pm Mountain Time, 4pm EST, please contact or go here to request a link.