Colony Collapse—Aristaeus

 Erin Lyndal Martin

MAR Vol. XXXIII, no. 2

You can tell me the bees are dying, but a god has been through this too. Aristaeus (etymologically, the best) lost all his bees, and he sought guidance. Even gods need divine intervention when it comes to bees.  He stood at the riverside and told his mother, the water nymph, his sad voice reaching to the bottom of the river where she sat with her weaving. His mother could not keep his bees alive, but she made him a feast among the roar of the waters. His mother told him to chain a certain prophet in his cave. The prophet became a fire, a flood, a wild beast to resist the chains. Aristaeus held fast. Realizing he was trapped, the prophet said to build new altars and sacrifice cattle so that bees would bloom forth from the carcasses. As for me, I have made an altar of every ordinary thing, have worshiped at the same riverside where we scattered Laura’s ashes that day. God, whichever god is mine, I have no prophet to chain. I have no cattle to slaughter. I do not believe bloodshed can create new life.

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