The night before last, from 1:00 to 2:30 a.m., I watched snow falling on the pine tree out my window. It was a surprise after the beautiful spring weather we’ve been having. It was mesmerizing. I could hardly take my eyes off the snow swirling under the street lamp that pierces those pine boughs. As I watched, snuggled and warm, I thought about the orchards across the street and the new peach blossoms being covered in several inches of snow. I grew up on a fruit farm and have an idea of the tenderness of blossoms and the damage that can be done in freezing temperatures. There are many conditions that must be just right for fruit to grow and mature.
I had just visited with my neighbor, the fruit farmer the day before and he told me his 2 hives of bees had not survived the winter, they had all died. I thought about those bees, needed for pollinating the fruit trees, and the bonus of honey they produce this afternoon as I enjoyed my favorite meal: whole wheat toast with honey, dipped in cold milk. I scraped the last drops of honey from the container, grateful for the bees that survived hard environments and worked insanely hard to gift us with honey.
I learned more about just how hard they work in the comments below made by Elder M. Russell Ballard last October Conference:
“Each time I enjoy a fresh, vine-ripened tomato or eat a juicy peach right off the tree, my thoughts go back 60 years to when my father owned a small peach orchard in Holladay, Utah. He kept beehives there to pollinate the peach blossoms that would eventually grow into very large, delicious peaches.
Father loved his gentle honeybees and marveled at the way thousands of them working together transformed the nectar gathered from his peach blossoms into sweet, golden honey—one of nature’s most beneficial foods. In fact, nutritionists tell us it is one of the foods that includes all the substances—enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water—necessary to sustain life.
My father always tried to involve me in his work with his hives, but I was very happy to let him tend to his bees. However, since those days, I have learned more about the highly organized beehive—a colony of about 60,000 bees.
Honeybees are driven to pollinate, gather nectar, and condense the nectar into honey. It is their magnificent obsession imprinted into their genetic makeup by our Creator. It is estimated that to produce just one pound (0.45 kg) of honey, the average hive of 20,000 to 60,000 bees must collectively visit millions of flowers and travel the equivalent of two times around the world. Over its short lifetime of just a few weeks to four months, a single honeybee’s contribution of honey to its hive is a mere one-twelfth of one teaspoon.
Though seemingly insignificant when compared to the total, each bee’s one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey is vital to the life of the hive. The bees depend on each other. Work that would be overwhelming for a few bees to do becomes lighter because all of the bees faithfully do their part.”
. . . . great things are brought about and burdens are lightened through the efforts of many hands “anxiously engaged in a good cause” (D&C 58:27). Imagine what the millions of [us] could accomplish in the world if we functioned like a beehive in our focused, concentrated commitment to the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I hope I remember this lesson and his words every time I see blossoms and think of bees and taste the sweetness of honey. I hope to always be anxiously engaged in good causes.