Saturday, August 7, 2010

Secret Life of Bees

I fell in love with beekeeping this morning and think I might decide to become obsessed with bees.  Just a short-term obsession, like when I read three JFK Jr. biographies in a week. 

Although knowing me, I might end up moving to the country and taking up beekeeping.  I'm a firecracker like that.

So I guess bees are ridiculously well choreographed, each of them having a highly specific role.  I suppose I knew that on some level (worker bees and Queen), but never cared enough to think much about it. 

Margaret was talking this morning about the little water-gathering bees, who suck up water and bring it back to the hive to vomit in a little puddle.  

Other bees stand over the puddle and flap their wings to create a cooling element, or stand away and flap to generate heat for the hive.  A hive, whether in Alaska or Africa, will maintain a nearly constant temperature of 93 degrees Fahrenheit.

Honey will only happen when each individual bee is doing its correct job in the correct way.  Too many bees covering one job-pattern, and everything falls apart.

I was thinking about how this plays out in any community, at its best.  We are all wired in these highly unique ways.  Meant for different purposes.  And designed to do particular jobs that someone else couldn't create.

Steve and I talk often about how you can take any matter how obscure...and turn it into a profession.  He used to think careers were more became a teacher, or a doctor, or a lawyer.  There were a handful of broad ideas of careers.  Now, he sees you can take any childhood interest and that's who you can become if you lay a foundation of education and experience under it.

His love for baseball cards was nearly all about statistics.  He'd also stand in the outfield during games and calculate his current batting average based on the last inning.  And if he wasn't so interested in the work-life balance a teaching profession brought our lives, he'd be the most passionate data analyst who ever lived.

If you love science and diving and history, you can become an underwater archeologist, digging up pirate treasure.  A professional pirate lover.  I love that.

The other day on the Discovery Channel was a man with a PhD in marine biology, specializing in sharks.  A PhD in sharks!  What you love, you can become.  The options are limitless, which runs tingles up my spine.

All of the sides of ourselves can mix in ways we don't really hear about.  I always stumble over telling someone I teach college economics and English, because it sounds goofy when simplified.  But if I bored someone long enough, I could go into great depths about how much they parallel each other. And how closely they both align with key areas of my personality, interests, and values.

Donald Miller is an incredible writer and a polished public speaker, but talks in his book about how he's awkward and uncomfortable when he first meets someone new.  It was the first time I've seen someone create the connection in my experience - in that I'd rather speak to a group of 1000 than have a one-on-one conversation with a brand-new person.  I stammer and stop thoughts mid-sentence and am pretty sure I have a Minnie Mouse voice. 

I'd rather write a letter to a new person, hand it to them, and walk away.  It's why I just melt with pleasure when I meet an extrovert who has that gift of new-person-chattiness.  If they can steer things through those first stammering moments or conversations, I'm a whole new person.

For whatever reason, I wasn't made to be the instant-extrovert. It's a struggle for me.  But others are. Perhaps they, however, would appreciate that I'll do other "work" in our relationship along the way.


92.9 The Wave's Jennifer Roberts said...

I can't tell you how excited I was to hear that part in her discussion, as well. Bees have always fascinated me; I have a bee incorporated in one of my tattoos for that very reason that she spoke of. And a bee is one of my favorite links in my Italian charm bracelet. Fascination? Me, too. I even read up on that devastating Colony Collapse she spoke of about a year ago, after seeing some info on it on my fav Haagan Dazs flavors!

Sarahbeth said...

I love it, Jen! I came away thinking bees might be my new mascot, LOL, because I love the different role we all play. Glad to hear someone understands the fascination. :)

Annie R. said...

I am EXACTLY the same way - not an instant-extrovert. I'd also rather give a speech in front of 1000 people than try to make conversation one on one with a new person. :) I totally relate! People who know me well are always surprised by that, but those are probably the people who were instantly extroverted and unwittingly helped me through that initial phase of our getting to know one another by carrying the conversation. :)

Sarahbeth said...

Annie, I'm *stunned* to hear we have another similarity. Okay, I'm not...but I AM stunned that you could ever be socially awkward. :) We must have off-set each other somehow, as I don't remember that about you at all. Always good to hear from you!