Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Evicted by Matthew Desmond

    I kept thinking as I read this book, “There but for the grace of God go I”  or any of us who can afford to buy this book.   We don’t know how to be poor.  It’s a thing of wonder to me that the poor are not given more credit for being smart because anyone who can navigate the world of poverty has to be very smart.  It’s not easy.
    In Evicted, Matthew Desmond followed his instincts and eight families as he navigated the world of poverty and most especially in finding a place to live. In gaining their trust and becoming a part of their world he tells their stories and opens our eyes to a life I hope to God I never find myself in.
    This was one of the saddest books I’ve ever read.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The History of Bees

The History of Bees by Maja Lunde
     We meet Tao in China in the year 2098.  She is sitting in a pear tree brushing the blossoms with a chicken feather, pollinating the blooms so there will be a pear harvest.  The honeybees are gone.  They’ve been extinct for quite some time.  Her world is very different from ours.  Gray, devoid of color, flavor and people.  It’s what happened when the world lost the power of the bee.  Suddenly, people were gone because there was no food because there were no bees to pollinate because they were the result of CCD – Colony Collapse Disorder.  It all started a hundred years before in the year 1998 when suddenly bees just began to disappear.
     In England in 1852 we meet William who is obsessed with building a better bee hive and he does.  It’s economical, easier to use, easier on the bees, less disruptive for them, easier to harvest the honey.  William is really a seed merchant but with every set back he has he dives into deep despair and his family suffers greatly.  Of his eight children, he has one son, in whom he places all of his hopes, but it is one of his daughters who manages to save the family and her father with her observations of hive and bee activity and it is through her observations that William develops his improved bee hive, and it is the one we still use today on smaller holdings. 
     In the United States in 2007 George has a small holding of hives but they support his family.  George is a descendant of William and has maintained the family’s legacy of bee keeping.  But modernization is taking its toll on George’s small operation and he struggles to keep his place.  Like William, George has a son that isn’t interested in continuing the keeping of bees, but where William had eight children, George has only the one son and he wants to be a writer.  Then, CCD strikes and reality is harsh. Overnight the bees are gone.  No one knows where they go, there are no dead bodies, they are just gone. The hive is like a ghost town.
    I couldn’t help but notice the similarity of Tao’s world with the empty hives.  Suddenly, because of CCD the bees are gone, the hive is just empty, like a hastily abandoned empty apartment building, curtains blowing in the open windows. In Tao’s world the cities are empty of people, the dwellings are empty, people are just gone.  It’s all just a ghost town. 
     It’s scary, this story.  But the trumpeters usually are scary.  Our hives are already experiencing Colony Collapse Disorder.  The bees are already, and this is incredible to me,  an endangered species.  I remember when I first heard that and I remember I stopped walking across the room and just stared.  What would it mean for bees to become extinct?  What did we do?