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All Paths Lead to Home  |  Walking Home -> 

All Paths Lead to Home, photo printing on silk, 72" x 78" x 80". 
[Artspace] at Untitled, 2009

Twenty years ago, my spouse announced that he wanted to go into beekeeping. Its hard to believe now how adamantly opposed I was to this idea. I certainly wished bees no harm, but to intentionally invite them into our own backyard? Fortunately, he prevailed, and before long I was completely won over by these gentle little winged creatures. Fear evaporated as I became familiar with their non-aggressive nature, and their meticulous attention to the tasks of gathering pollen and nectar, and caring for their queen, their young, and their hive. Our garden benefited from their dependable pollination, our kitchen was supplied with lovely honey, and we discovered the pleasures of watching the members of this complex society busily engaged in their work.

We love our bees. We cherish them. They provide for us, and we do our best to return the favor by caring for them in the increasingly stressful world they inhabit. In the 1950s and 60s, honeybee populations were dramatically reduced by careless use of pesticides. In the 1990s, bees were hit with infestations of mites. Conventional beekeepers treated mite problems with pesticides, which worked until the mites developed resistance, but also appeared to damage bees immune systems. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a recent phenomenon, in which all or most of the bees in a colony leave the hive and don't return. Possible causes include exposure to insecticides while foraging, malnutrition, pathogens, and lack of genetic diversity of bees. Its encouraging to note that organic beekeepers, who use alternative methods of mite control, and who try to locate their beehives in non-sprayed areas, do not seem to be hit by CCD.

Our cherished bees, flying out and never returning. We don't know why they die out in the field. Do the stresses mentioned above disorient them so that they never make it back to the hive? The same factors that are collapsing bee colonies are impacting us. We, too, are dying. That endless, intimate journey to find our own true sources of sustenance beckons to us, calling us to the source, to home, to life.


All Paths Lead to Home (detail).