The Accidental Beekeeper

Standing there fully outfitted in my bee suit peering down into the exposed beehive, rivulets of salty sweat soak their way through both sweatbands, as I squint and repeatedly blink my clouded and stinging eyes to continue the search for my beloved queen. The double cooling rags I have wound around my neck and head do not seem to make a difference in how hot I become during this process, and my veil prevents me from being able to wipe my brow or even take a quick drink. 

Amidst the twirling and swirling bee activity, my gloved hands, suit and veil soon become covered with bees, with the sound of their calm bee hum ramping up into a fierce frenzied war cry.  My fearless gals repeatedly dive bomb and pelt their little bee bodies into my veil, as they have the instinct of going straight for the jugular. Wouldn’t life be grand if we had an entourage who would defend us to death? I have learned to check my hives as quickly and expeditiously as possible, as “breaking and entering” into their homes really upsets their day.

It was never a wish of mine to keep bees, but through a bizarre set of circumstances, I learned the art of beekeeping in a huge hurry after being left with several hives at Cheema’s Landing.  Little did I know at that time how much I would become smitten with my thousands of winged friends, and how they would force me to learn something new at my advanced age, not only about them, but about myself, too.  Being able to see their amazing world in action has taught me focus and has given me a new perspective on many aspects of life in general, along with many tall bee tales and never again scenarios that I love to share.

Working with my gals gets me “in the zone” of total concentration, allowing me to clear away the ever present debris hanging out in my mind—my worries and what-if’s, work issues, lists, schedules, finances and other cluttered thoughts, which can make life just plain out overwhelming. There is nothing like a bunch of upset buzzing bees to force me to center my mind on the task at hand.


After working hard all spring, summer and fall, my bees have now hunkered down to survive the long Michigan winter.  They do not give a thought to the new year or the usual resolutions that come along with it, but rather they take life a day at a time, doing the best with what they have in order to survive.  That, in and of itself, is a great life lesson, but for most of us, we contemplate on how best to approach the never-ending quest for #newyearnewme.  Statistics have proven that approximately 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions are broken within a couple of months, and, sadly, I fall into that category. 

Consider how different it would be if we changed our approach to New Year’s resolutions.  With a #newapproachnewyearresolutions—they could be more meaningful and attainable by choosing to pursue one that allowed your mind freedom to get “in the zone,” which is such an important part of maintaining good health.  Whether it is running for miles, painting a picture, reading a book, writing a story, building something with your hands, gardening, sewing, working on a vehicle, walking for miles, learning a new language, bird watching, meditation, woodworking, crossword puzzles, photography, flying or learning how to fly, taking an online course, team sports, bicycling—well, you get it—you just need to try something, as the possibilities are endless.


Resolve this year to regularly get your mind “in the zone” with something beneficial and reap the rewards gained from the wonderful freedom it brings on your journey to the #newyearnewme.  Immerse yourself by thinking of the next step, the next brush stroke, the next page of a book, the next turn of a wrench, and, as for me—there is nothing better than being surrounded by nature and my thousands of sweet little aviators that sets my mind free and sends my spirit soaring. 

Katrina Cheema