Once upon a time, up the street in an empty, broken down house, hidden in the walls was a beehive. Everyday, a middle aged woman, tired from sitting in front of a computer and all the stresses of modern professional white collared life, would stand in front of the house and watch the swirls of golden bees rise from the grated wall. The bees brought a contemplative peace to her soul and she longed to learn more about them.

Eventually she apprenticed herself to the bees. She learned about St. Ambrose and St. Gobnait and Rev. Langstroth and the forebearers of modern beekeepers. She found out that bees had been around for actually billions of years, the oldest bee found in a mummified grave of a female noblewoman in Russia some 5,500 years ago. Evidently honey was packed for the journey from this life to the next.

She learned that pollinators, including some 20,000 species of wild bees, contribute to the growth of fruit, vegetables and many nuts, as well as flowering plants. Plants that depend on pollination make up 35 percent of global crop production volume with a value of as much as $577 billion a year. The agricultural system, for which pollinators play a key role, creates millions of jobs worldwide.

And finally, she learned that bees are in decline and face extinction from man made causes of agricultural and backyard pesticides, of disease, weakness, pathogens and varroa mites, from an industrial century of loss of habitat that once gave them a steady, rich diet of nectar and pollen.

But the greatest learning was in caring for her own backyard hives. It was here that she finally and fully fell in love with these golden girls, wedded to them not only for fascination and reverence, but for practical reasons. The healing elements of the hive are multitude. Anti-microbial honey, anti-allergenic pollen, anti-bacterial propolis, immune supporting royal jelly and apitherapy for all that ails the body.

It was in relationship day by day, that the greatest journey of all was undertaken. These wild ones surprised and educated, mystified and continue to enlighten the woman in the healing, sustaining ways of Mother Nature.