Before responding to the daily prompt, I typed swarm into Google to see what definitions the word has of which I might not be aware. It says a lot about our current culture that the first 10 hits led me to Swarm, a new game App that rewards players for visiting more places than their friends and through which you can even “claim mayorship of your favorite place.” This game reminds me of a similar one I learned about a while ago that prompted me to think about our cultural and spiritual attitudes toward communal space and post my thoughts in Lost Sanctuary.
Even in its specific use relating to bees, the word seems to have a slightly negative cast, as if gentle honeybees searching for a new home are really more akin to hoards of hostile minions flowing over the hills and valleys to wreak destruction upon a peaceful village.
I would welcome a swarm if I came upon one today somewhere in the apple trees down the hill or in a hollow log fallen by the stone walls. Because for many years now I have seen so few honeybees or butterflies and have heard so few birds on a Spring morning. When we first moved to this place over 30 years ago, it was impossible to sleep past dawn because of the massive chorus of birds that greeted the rising sun. Walking outside on a summer day necessitated planning a route that moved carefully past flowers and trees to avoid being dive-bombed by bees gathering nectar.
In the fall, the field of milkweed was alive with Monarch butterflies feeding eagerly before their long flight to their winter home in Mexico.
There are those who deny the devastating effects of human population growth and its accompanying technological destruction. Unfortunately many of them are in positions of power. I am no scientist or academic scholar and cannot offer research statistics or brilliant intellectual arguments to prove them wrong. But I invite them to visit me and listen to the silence and look at what is no longer there.
Beware the swarm – of human ignorance and blindness and disregard for the fragile web that sustains our planet. We cannot swarm like a crowded hive to find another place to survive. This is the only home we have.