Absolutely Nothing To Buzz About : a sweet little love story from Micki Myers

I love honey. I love my Honey. I love both of them; the exquisite golden substance unique to nature produced by the humble honey bee and my sweetheart, whose pet name seems to embody all that is good and unique in nature wrapped up in his lovely person.

The two are connected in more ways than one, however. Back when I met my Honey I was busy making honey. As a member of the Nature Department at summer camp, I was partly responsible for maintaining the hives. We had 20,000 bees (give or take) housed in a couple of those beautiful wooden hives parked at the edge of some meadows in Ohio. Every now and then we’d take brave campers out to see them, armed with nothing but a tin smoker stuffed with pine needles and set alight; you could pull a lever to emit a puff of white smoke that would temporarily subdue the bees into docile fuzzies. After removing the lid, you could lift up a frame heavy with thousands of busy writhing bodies, and sweep some off with your hand to reveal the oozing maze of honeycomb underneath.

It was a big hit, not least because the kids could go back to their scaredy friends and boast of having stuck their hands into a seething hive. No bees were crushed, and no kids were stung, but I was when my summer romance with the future Mr. Honey fizzled out.

At the end of the season we harvested the honey, squeezing it out of the combs and straining it off into small jars which were given to all of the staff. It was the very last of that honey to be handed out; after a hundred years or so the camp closed down after that season in 1988. Generations of Cincinnati residents had spent their summers there; it was a place where you could see graffiti your grandparents had etched into the wooden walls of whitewashed cabins, and many marriages were made of folks who had met as campers or counselors.

I doubt that any of that honey still exists … apart from the single unopened jar my Honey nursed all that time, and which now sits on my mantelpiece. To anyone else it probably looks like a jar of tar, inexplicable as an ornament — but to me it is the most wonderful love token ever. Over time the honey has thickened and darkened to become incredibly dense; he tried shining a military-grade 250-lumen light through it to no avail. I like to think that jar contains the magic that brought us back together so improbably 23 years later. It’s not every day that you are given a jar of honey you yourself made a lifetime ago. But then again I am all a-buzz with love, so don’t mind me.

 



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