Oh buzzer of nobility and joy! How I aspire to be among your hum! I marvel at your indefatigable drive, as you fly and gather, nestling your little legs into the sex of a flower and caress and coo the golden powder from its now fertile pink and tap it goodbye as you take off for the hive, to deliver your offering to the great one, only to turn around and return to the thousands of flowers, performing the same task again and again perfectly, thoughtlessly, joyfully as if nothing could be easier or more important than your feet's pollen tickling.
Licking my spoon, which should be stirring this precious sweetener into a piping cup of blueberry tea, uniting perhaps once again blossom and extracted pollen, though this particular golden glob made a detour to my mouth where hints of rose and wax meld into a bouquet of exhilaration, awakening the buds of my tongue who expand in ecstasy from this sticky droplet. How amazed I am at this delicious byproduct you graciously put into this world whilst daily keeping it afloat. My gratitude swells with every sneaky spoonful.
It is with awe and wonder that we humans behold you bees and your flawless organization. What other species on this wide earth is capable of such feats of collaboration? Perhaps the ant, but they make conga lines through kitchens of busy mothers and march about like body builders where they aren't wanted, so they do not count. perhaps the sardine, whose angle of movement is identical to his classmates, and who has no fear of sharks for in this mass he, with his 2 inch body span, is bigger! But they do this for protection and do not make stunning fortresses like the ant or save the world like you, the bee, so let us forget them too. You are the example of a perfect government. There is a Queen whose sole motive is the hive, and all her subjects, whose sole motive is the Queen. Each knows his or her place, each works tirelessly for the greater good, each finds purpose and life solely in contributing to their community. If only we humans could do the same!
We have invented, in sci-fi books and movies, alien races that have this kind of perfect governance and unified intent combined with intelligence. Maybe they can grow living dwellings with symbiotic needs, or they have weapons that link perfectly with their arm for maximum firing potential. Whatever the result, it is this combination that seems unassailable! The power the human race could wield if all our forces and abilities were combined to one unquestioned purpose, the worlds we could discover, the healing we could give this earth. It makes me giddy with dreams of the hammer and sickle!
And though communism has not really panned out quite perfectly, I still preached the possibility, I still longed for a chance to see for myself if I was good proletariat material! I am not too proud to be part of a hive, I could work a thankless job day in and day out for the love of my brothers and sisters. How noble! How kind! And those sentiments continued to solidify, as I biked through former soviet states and talked to many an old woman who reminisced about the glory and beauty of communism. I egged on their nostalgia and was affirmed again and again, communism is a better solution than capitalism. The bees hummed between the sunflowers and I smiled at them and their industriousness, and their selfless toiling and thought, if only we were all bees! Little did I know that my communist trial was soon approaching.
It came in the form of a cartwheeling, paint splashing, red nosed anarchist bicycle circus who 'yoohooed' at each departure, with bells ringing and tinking. 'Hooray huzzah! We are misfits, we bring silliness and happiness! We have no system forcing us to keep a constant eye on the clock or carry a leather briefcase and we want none of it! Hoorray! Clingle clink, tink tinkeroo, go the bicycles till Timbuktu!' What better trial could one ask for?
I had high hopes of the coherence we would ultimately embody. I pictured the beauty of a company who lived and traveled, performed and bowed together, of the ease with which we would interact on stage (the street) and the natural grace we would assume as we brought smiles to remote villages and laughter to the goats on the mountain roads. Perhaps we too could perfect telepathic communication which would flow between our heads, like the ants and their silent marching.
But in the beginning must be words, "meeting at 9!" someone would call, and the word would spread, from the camp fire where kasha was too quickly solidifying, "more water!" to the tent of the snoring Italian "I'll catch uppa" to the river where 3 giggling goddesses were having their biweekly bathe. 9 comes around and some people are there with bowls and spoons eager, cups full of turkish coffee and feet ready to circle. But many are still in the river, the Italian still not emerged, a Goddess comes up to us dripping and shimmering "oh? not everyone is here yet, I'll just.." and she's off, this happens with 3 more, 45 minutes and 3 group "Stephano!!" cries later, all are assembled. Some, just arrived, are chipper and jolly, others, kasha and coffee long sitting cold in their hands are bitter and grouchy. Now the meeting can finally begin, but who to say something? Not I, I said too much in the last meeting, urged a vote and got some scowls. The girl who usually talks if I don't pipes up, a natural school teacher- with her sweetness no one ever suspects evil power hungary tendencies. Why they suspect this want of power rather than efficiency in me is beyond me. "who will be navigator?" one girl raises a bold hand, relief spreads, she's not so slow. "who's caboose with the tools?" I offer, this will keep me out of the frustrating push in front. Anxiety spreads, I am not a practiced bike mechanic and my patience is not well spoken of.. well at least I carry a lot of weight if someone can't get up a mountain with their load. Tents packed, fire peed upon, bike bells ring a ding ding. This is the best part of the day, 17 enthusiastic cyclists departing onto another unknown road, to see what the world throws at us, each set out for me is a bit of hope, maybe today we will figure it out.
I ride up to the mob, they've been standing at this fork not knowing what to do for the last 2 hours. Someone rode past the navigator and did not stop and this fork, no one knows where she is. Scouts have been sent ahead in both directions, not come back yet. Two are now in town getting food it is a good town for a show, but we must find here. "well, she knows what town we're going to," I suggest "let's go make a show and she's certain to find us in the street" the motion is past and on we go clacking into town. Someone doesn't feel well and insists on finding a place to sleep, the rest can do a show without him and any others for an early bedtime. A few go with him the rest stay and juggle, play, laugh dance. The town is mesmerized and bring us carrots, cabbage, 5 huge bags of cucumbers, small change, popcorn and a bouncy ball- our clown is going to have fun with that! Ok. Off to find the tent colony, we load all these vegetables on our creaking bikes, you can hear their dismay at the added weight. We huff and puff up a hill until a shout is heard "Scheisse!!" cucumbers come rolling down the hill towards me. Ahead mohammed dismounts his now 3 bagged steed into the scattered nonsense that just fell. His rack broke under the added weight. I would stay with him, we passed a mechanic close by, the rest should bring the food to the colony and start dinner. He disappears down the hill, I wait on the curb, but am hailed by some friendly Serbians. "Zdravo!" they yell "Raki?" Sure, rakia wouldn't be so bad right now. In world speak I lead them to understand Chicago, circus, juggle, bicycle, India. They laugh and laugh and pour more rakia until a frantic member of the crew bikes back from where he had come up to the fence "fabian fell, he's really sick" My hosts look from my red to my anxious face, "Raki?" Why not? Soon enough Mohammed comes back, rack welded, we depart for the camp where dinner was miraculously underway. That night we get 3 visits from locals, police, fire department, all wondering what we are doing there. Not a good spot.. but we make it through the night. Tomorrow maybe we would figure it out.
Now this was in the beginning and of course things could only get better from there. Our limping hive should learn to walk soon enough, but there arose a few bumps that I found even time could not smooth.
I realized to my dismay, that I am not good proletariat material. I care too much about my own personal/mental growth and stimulation to readily lay down my self education for a greater good. I did not like to stop my reading or practicing at the call for a meeting, I did not like to sit through meetings of unaccountable length when I could have been doing x, y or z. I care about my individual creation and was not ready to sacrifice that for a larger group masterpiece, which applies to music but also the art of travel, of getting to know people and culture which was impossible in this huge ameba. But the worst realization, which was quite eye-opening in regards to my usual feelings towards communism, was that the thing I longed for most was freedom. In this mass, consideration for the others bound me to make mall my decisions on movement, or even just how I spent my time, with the group. If I wanted to go meet with someone or take a walk or go somewhere to play, really there would have to be a meeting to see if I would be needed in the next hour, and calling the meeting would take almost an hour, so usually I just abandoned these plans and read, sat, waited. And beyond anything else, this feeling of captivity haunted my dreams.
In the past when I thought of the capitalist argument against communism, freedom always seemed to me a sort of luxury for the rich capitalist. That in middle to lower class America this notion of freedom is a mirage keeping people in their place, and that while they feel they have full reign over their lives, they are actually forced time and time again into positions of powerless acceptance of what the capitalist machine has decided for them. I had decided that this false freedom was worse than a complete absence of even this attempt. But finding myself with these restrictions on my movement due to a group, rather than my "Education", I felt the paranoia, the pride, the individual in me screaming for flight or fight! Because in the end, I am not a bee. In the end it was impossible for all of us to drop our egos, our personal interests. In the end it was as my lover refrained "herding cats".
I believe the instinctual human has no natural ability to care about a greater whole. We as mammals are tribe/family based and have an affinity for hierarchy and competition, survival of the fittest has made us so. Our reason, however, has also been evolving and I do believe on a spiritual level, humans want the end to universal suffering. In this hypothetical, we revere the bee, and have tried many times to mimic her wisdom. But it is very hard. This is what I have learned. Communal living is a skill and a discipline, it requires intention, patience and unfortunately a good system, a genius system really, one that I don't believe exists yet. But I think we are getting closer. The more history I read, the more hope I allow myself. We really have come a long was and though I have crossed another system (or rather 3) off my list as potentials, the optimist in me says try try try again.. or just wait for the apocalypse.