Words by Laura Puiras
I was standing in the middle of a swarm of honeybees. Even though we had been told they rarely sting, since they die when they do, I found myself reverting back to Little Laura’s thinking and being sure I’d get stung. However, feelings of bravery and safety began to blend together as I stood there watching our bees buzz around. Never had I been surrounded by so many bees, or felt so wonderfully invisible to them!
The longer I went without being stung, the longer I lingered by the hive. The more time I spent there, the more I realized none of the bees were as aware of me as I was of them. They were all busy doing their thing which helped me feel safe enough to watch them just a little bit longer.
In June 2019 my church, Wellspring Worship Centre, became home to a colony of 15,000 honeybees. We are connected with a group of bee-loving people at Alvéole who are all about beekeeping, education, and community. Not only did they provide us with the hives, but they also visit regularly to ensure the bees are doing well and offer a few workshops throughout the season. In the fall they will come to harvest the honey for us and start getting the bees ready to hibernate for the winter.
“Never had I been surrounded by so many bees, or felt so wonderfully invisible to them!”
I’d never really watched a honeybee move about before. I had definitely never appreciated how cute and fuzzy they are! They used to be dangerous, flying stinger-pests, but now they are beginning to mean so much more.
I knew my thinking had seriously changed when I was walking around in a park weeks later and a bee flew past me. Instead of “Ah! Run awayyy!” my gut reaction was, “Aw! I wonder if this is one of our bees!”
Fun facts about honey:
- The flavour of honey changes based on the neighbourhood in which the bees are living.
- Honey produced in your neighbourhood can help alleviate your seasonal allergies.
When we encounter creation in new and meaningful ways, seeing God as Creator begins to come to life in new ways too! His creativity and intricate attention to detail continually blows my mind as I learn more about the ways He designed our world.
For example, did you know that hexagons, the shape we see repeated in honeycomb, is the most efficient shape? The efficiency of a shape is not something I ever thought about before. Guys like Marcus Terentius Varro, a Roman scholar who lived in 36 B.C., and American scientist Thomas Hales did, though! The Honeycomb Conjecture is a 21-page document that provides the mathematical proofs for hexagons being the most efficient shape. Inspired by? Yep, honeybees.
Rather than building a honeycomb out of squares, triangles, or circles, hexagons allow the bees to build storage units making sure there are no gaps! No other shape can create more space with less material. And because every wall of the hexagon is shared by the neighbouring shape, bees are able to store the greatest amount of honey while using the least amount of wax for building the storage units.
The thing that gets me about all this is that nobody taught the bees to do this. In fact, the bees taught us! Mathematicians and geometrists have learned so much from the honeycomb the bees create and the ways in which they build them.
In the same ways we can get to know our Creator better through nature, we can also learn so much more about who He is through examining who we are. We were made in His image. Each and every one of us reflects a unique combination of who God is that we cannot find anywhere else in all of creation.
What makes you come alive in an extraordinary way? How can you share that passion with others?