Last year, I took my seven-year-old son, Ian, to see a documentary about bees called Queen of the Sun. The movie cataloged the various problems facing honey bees in our world, and likely moved on to tell inspiring stories of folks working to solve the crisis, but I wouldn't know. I didn't get to see the end of it.

About halfway through the movie, Ian turned to me with tears streaming down his cheeks saying, “I want to go. I can't take any more.” For a moment, I almost tried to talk him into staying, but looking at him I realized I had made a mistake. In going to see this documentary, I had broken my own rule about avoiding talk of environmental issues, or disturbing world events, unless Ian had need of the information for his immediate life.

“You really screwed up”, he said to me angrily as we left the pizza place that was showing the

Tea for the bees by Anna Alkin

documentary. And in the car: “Why do I need to know all of that? What good is it?”

“What good is it?” I began to ask of myself about the articles I was reading, and the news stories I listened to on the radio in the weeks that followed. Is this helping? Does this empower me to respond? There's a fine line between being aware of what's going on in the world on the one hand, and traumatizing oneself into inaction on the other.

4/26/2013 2:40:43 PM

To feel discouraged is human. However, to allow one's feelings of discouragement to overwhelm one makes it very difficult to come up with a practical response to the discouraging situation. I'm touched by yours and I thank you for it.

4/24/2013 2:35:32 PM

This is such a beautiful meditation on small steps ins somber times. It's inspired me to move forward with my plan to create a healing garden for the pollinators in my back yard. Maybe having access to chamomile and yarrow and lemon balm pollen will help them in some small way. And maybe all our "some small way"s will add up to enough.
In addition, of course, to getting furious, loud and public in our objections to the poisoners and exploiters of our planet. Rise up! Stand up for the Earth.

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