It's a sorry business to start with the pun above, but I'm likely to be so deadly serious and wide-eyed sincere that a bit of self-puncturing is in order. Especially since we're talking about bees, and getting a few painful pokes is part of the deal.
Did you know that city bees make honey that is sweet, unique, and prized? Most any bees do a great job – don't get me wrong – but last year it really rocked me (in a GOOD way) to learn that city bees benefit from the decorative trees and gardens of the urban world in ways that their country cousins don't. (Yet another reason to be thankful for the BBC World Service.)
Why? City people want window boxes with something blooming most of the time, front yard gardeners express themselves with unforeseen varieties and juxtapositions of plants – often stuffed in chock-a-block – and the bees chow down.
After this epiphany, how could I resist? It hits me right where dreams and discouragement choose to meet.
My husband and I have chosen to live in a beautiful city that is nonetheless the subject of what seems like 100% suburban derision, of the "What are you thinking, living in such a hell hole?" variety. The idea that crowding together the varied, the unlikely, and even the inadvisable could produce special golden beauty has now turned the deck of our city townhouse into a bee yard. I say both "Nyah nyah!" and "Want some?"
OK,this is where I get both weird and tiresome (i.e. the philosophical part). You can't live in a city without paying a price for it: congestion, crime, whatever. To select a city life is to face that, and to make a choice. Around here, I think folks – especially the suburban folks who have so clearly irked me – live in fear, avoiding risk like the plague, choosing to drive in tanks and live in tract mansions, to exist in an easily understood monoculture.
Come on, do you really think there's no price for that? Seriously, something worse than hours in traffic on the way to work or the mall?
Tell you what: give me the bill up front. I'll take my stings *and* my honey.