“It takes a bee 10,000,000 trips to collect enough nectar to make one pound of honey.” — Sue Monk Kidd, The Secret Life of Bees
My 16 ounce jar of Swords into Plowshares honey, then, is just that: a jar full of 10,000,000 bee trips.
(Do they get frequent flyer miles?)
Swords into Plowshares is a New Haven-based company owned by Vincent Kay, who started beekeeping in 1982. The name of his company comes from a passage in the Bible:
They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.— Isaiah 2:4 (King James, Cambridge Ed.)
“I’m not a really religious person,” Vincent told a reporter for the Record Journal back in 2007. “But that particular verse made a lot of sense to me in terms of how people should learn to live together.”
Vincent seems quite pragmatic about many things, actually. I had a chance to talk to him this weekend, when I called to ask about recycling.
“Do you take back your glass jars to reuse?” I asked.
I was just about to toss the sweet little, beehive-esque jar into the recycling bin. But it seemed such a waste.
“I do,” he said. “But I also buy the nicest jars I can find so folks think about re-using them, for rice or beans or things like that.”
I could drop them off at his home in New Haven, he said. We exchanged names and phone numbers — but I was already considering what I could save away in my sweet little jar.
Rice. Beans. Sea glass, perhaps? I have a handful of pale pink pieces from a walk on the beach last week.
Or just more honey.
“The elixir of life is as sweet as honey,” writes Ted Andrews in Animal-Speak, “and the bee is a symbol that promises us that the opportunity to drink of it is ours if we but pursue our dreams.”
Perhaps the jar is for dreams, then? A sweet little spot for whispers of what may be, what will be, what already are…in my dreams.