…In search of bees…how many times have I finished a sentence with that phrase in the last three years. A Georgian man adorned in a bright and colorful ewok costume chases after me, whip in hand, while I pass through a traditional village in search of bees. I drive 8 hours over Azeri deserts brewing with mud volcanoes and cracked flowers, staring nauseously out the window, in search of bees. I fall to my knees before an ancient lake in Armenia, drinking holy water and silenced by its beauty, in search of bees. I float over flowing velvet green carpeted hill-sides in Eastern Turkey, the sounds of cowbells chorusing throughout the valley, in search of bees. I cry in a hospital, blowing my nose on sheep’s wool, wondering how so much could happen all for some great search for bees!
A toxic cocktail of dust, coal, petroleum, burning garbage, fog, smoke, and air strangles me as I walk through Kars at sunset. Outside of the lethal bubble of fumes that encapsulates the city, my blurred vision distinguishes the smooth lines of a pristine landscape that looks like the moon. It is surreal, martian terrain that suggests thin air and icy famine. A small blur, a fox whips its head out of the snow like a curious character from the Little Prince, but too hungry to linger, it dives back into the icy crust of the steppes. If the land out there is the moon, here in Kars, it is sandy red Venus, the houses burping with rising smoke and heat, a lethal venom that slithers through my nose and down my throat. Read the rest of this entry
Sometimes, work is hard – even when you are doing exactly what you love exactly where you need to be. But everyone has those days, when you are trying to make lemonade and as you are walking back from the manav (fruit stand), your lemons fall out of your bag and all of the little kids on the street start kicking them around the block. It’s no one’s fault. The universe is just politely telling you, “take a break.” (more…)
Everyday my quest to learn about honey in Turkey brings me closer and closer to borderlands. More often than not, many of the beekeepers who are considering organic certification over the next year are within jumping distance of the Georgia and Armenia borders. Having visited over 60 beekeepers in this situation over the past week, here is a quick snapshot of a border-beeing. (more…)